Monday, February 8, 2016

'No other water' — Navajo drinking from uranium-contaminated wells

WASHINGTON – Longtime Sanders resident Wayne Lynch was told in July that the water on his ranch contained dangerously high amounts of uranium, yet he is still using it.
“There’s no other water source we have,” Lynch said this week. “There’s no other well that they could tap in to.”
Lynch said the problem extends to the Sanders community, including nearby schools, which have no choice but to use contaminated wells.
“People are always getting cancer,” he said, naming his mother, an aunt and a grandmother among those who have been diagnosed with the disease.
Lynch’s case was just one of the stories brought to Washington last week by Clean Up the Mines, a group that highlights the detrimental effects of abandoned uranium mines, especially those on and near reservations.
According to government data, there are about 15,000 uranium mines in the West, with 75 percent of those on federal or tribal lands.
Clean Up the Mines was in the capital for a week, working to spread awareness of what it calls an environmental crisis, even as the nation is focused on the lead-contaminated water crisis in Flint, Mich.
Their trip included a Thursday protest outside the Environmental Protection Agency building...

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