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Water Quality & Land Restoration

Water Quality & Land Restoration:

Protecting and Restoring our Lands & Water

There are 15,000 abandoned mining sites in New Mexico. 259 of these sites are old uranium mines. Three of them on the Navajo Nation and the Laguna and Acoma Pueblos cause high levels of cancer. In Grant County, there are active copper mines with inadequate restoration plans.

Surface water and groundwater quality is also harmed by contamination from military bases, dairies, manufacturing and commercial sites, and old septic systems.

Local and Indigenous communities have worked for decades to get stronger standards for mining operations and to force mine owners to clean up their pollution.

Our Vision

We work with community members and leaders to stop new mining unless it can meet stringent standards and partner to create solutions for mining waste and site restoration. With a pro-environment legislature, we can fight the mining companies and their strong political influence. We work to ensure our communities and water resources are safe and can support cultural practices and outdoor recreation.

We will: 

  • Strengthen existing laws to prevent industries from polluting our water and land
  • Identify a baseline for health in mining-impacted communities
  • Create new job opportunities through mining reclamation projects 
  • Hold mining companies accountable for the impacts they have on communities
  • Support the Outdoor Equity Fund that awards grants to rural communities for land restoration, education, and recreation projects

Every year, tribal and pueblo members and supporters gather to commemorate the July 16, 1979 spill at United Nuclear Corporation’s mill tailings pond. It is the largest release of radioactive material in U.S. history, but received almost no coverage compared to the much smaller Three Mile Island reactor accident in March of that year. Photo: Larry King, Eastern Navajo Diné Against Uranium Mining (ENDAUM) addresses attendees with the spill site in the distance; credit: CVNM Staff/Michael Jensen

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Related Work

Learn more about Water Quality and Land Restoration efforts. 

Broad-Based Support

CVNM partners with and supports these organizations in order to move the needle on Water Quality & Land Restoration.