Melissa Sevigny

Nuclear power has gained more attention as a clean energy source. The raw material needed to make that power is uranium; and the highest-grade uranium deposits in the nation are near the Grand Canyon. The federal government has halted new uranium mining in the region, but old mines can still reopen.


The Federal Emergency Management Agency has denied a request by the Navajo Nation for an emergency declaration following the Gold King Mine spill. Arizona Public Radio’s Ryan Heinsius reports.

Blake McCord/Courtesy of the Grand Canyon Trust

Arizona Congressman Raul Grijalva plans to introduce a bill that would establish a Grand Canyon Heritage National Monument. At a press conference yesterday, he was joined by tribal leaders who say it would protect cultural resources and outlaw uranium mining in the area. Arizona Public Radio’s Ryan Heinsius reports. 


Waste from the Gold King Mine in Southwest Colorado continues to flow nearly two months after millions of gallons of the toxic material were released into local waterways. Now the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has a new plan to help clean it up, by installing a water treatment system near the mouth of the mine. Arizona Public Radio’s Ryan Heinsius reports.

Donovan Quintero/Navajo Times

Navajo Nation President Russell Begaye testified Wednesday before the U.S. Senate Committee on Indian Affairs about the impacts of the Gold King Mine spill on the tribe. As Arizona Public Radio’s Ryan Heinsius reports, he’s concerned about the spill’s environmental and economic impact on Navajo farmers.

President Begaye said the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency waited 48 hours before informing Navajo Nation officials of the incident. He said the agency’s response lacks transparency and creates mistrust.

The Nature Conservancy

The director of the Navajo Nation Environmental Protection Agency has called on Congress to intervene in the tribe’s recovery from last month’s Gold King Mine spill. Navajo officials say the federal government has failed to provide adequate relief to residents and farmers. 

State environment officials say tourists heading to Lake Powell for the Labor Day holiday need not worry about the quality of the water following a mine spill.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has released the results of dozens of water tests following the Gold King Mine spill last month. The tests were conducted at sites on Animas and San Juan rivers, other tributaries, on Lake Powell, and near the City of Page as recently as Aug. 25. 


Earlier this week, Navajo farmers in New Mexico voted to keep irrigation canals along the San Juan River closed for at least a year. They have concerns about soil contamination following the Gold King Mine spill in Colorado. Meanwhile, officials in Page are worried about the incident causing a drain on the local economy, even though scientists say Lake Powell remains mostly unaffected.  Arizona Public Radio’s Ryan Heinsius reports.

A petition submitted today by a nonprofit environmental group seeks to trigger federal reform of uranium mining regulations on public lands.

The petition focuses on so-called “zombie” mines that have been reopened after long periods of inactivity. It asks for limits on how long a mine can remain on standby, as well as new environmental reviews when an old mine reopens. It also proposes regular inspections of inactive mines, long-term water monitoring and firm deadlines for reclamation.