April 28th, 2006

Radioactive

No Way Day!

No Way Day!

I just posted about this a couple of days ago, but that was before this Blogswarm got organized. I mentioned that this is an issue that right and left agree on, which is evidenced by this blogswarm being organized by the right-leaning Utah Policy Daily. Everyone from Orrin Hatch to libbies like me agree:

Utah is not a nuke dump!

The BLM is taking public input until May 8. This battle has been going on for some time, but this may be the final thing we can do (short of sabotage/civil disobedience) to keep this dangerous waste out of Utah. Not only stored here, but transported over several years and thousands of shipments through our communities. Remember the toxic spill on the train last year? Accidents happen, which is why the best policy with nuke waste is to store it where it already is. It was explained to me that where the waste is currently stored is already contaminated and will remain so for thousands of years -- so why spread the contamination around to other sites? How many accidents can we expect with thousands of shipments?

Have your say!

For and easy way to do this, use the sample letter (with background info) from HEAL Utah or from  Utah Policy Daily . Send your letter to:

 
Pam Schuller   
      U.S. Bureau of Land Management       
      Salt Lake Field Office  
      2370 South 2300 West           
      Salt Lake City, Utah  84119 
      Email: pam_schuller@blm.gov

 

From Senator Hatch's website:

Your comments are necessary to assist the BLM in reviewing the PFS applications. Regulations require the BLM to consider the following questions, among others, in deciding whether to approve either one of these rights of way:

1) Is the project in the public interest?
2) Is PFS technically and financially capable to successfully pursue the project?
3) Is the project consistent with existing public land law?
4) Is the project consistent with BLM’s management of public lands?
In answering these questions, the BLM will consider public input made during the comment period.

You can read why Senator Hatch is against this proposal here.

If you are passionate about keeping nuke waste out of Utah, you could also get involved with Utah-based organizations that have been working for the past several years against the PFS dump:

HEAL Utah
Shundahai Network

You can also show support by attending a press conference at noon today (Friday April 28) at the auditorium of the State Office Building just north of the capitol {I wish I could go, but Friday is a major work day that I can't get out of}.

Sunrise ceremony

Thoughts on Environmental Racism on No Damn Way! Day

It's been an interesting day following the blogswarm to keep nuke waste out of Utah and reading the posts from (mostly) Utah bloggers opposed to the dump on the Goshute Reservation. I've been reflecting on this issue all day and just felt the need to write a bit more about it and the impact that this issue has had on my life and that of my family.  

The proposed PFS dump on the Goshute Reservation is what brought my husband to Utah a few years ago. He had been working in Nevada as an activist for Shundahai Network which supports the Western Shoshone and the nuclear devastaion of their land. He moved the Shundahai office to Salt Lake to organize against the PFS dump and support the Goshutes that were opposed to it. I met him when I came to help volunteer at Shundahai in 2002.

I guess you could say that my involvement really goes back to 3rd grade at Bellview Elementary when we were learning about Native American culture. I was chosen as a co-chief of the classroom "tribe" for the time period that we were learning about Indians. One day, as a role-playing experiment, one of the third grade teachers came to school dressed in suit and tie. Each of the tribes' (classes') leaders were brought to see him one at a time. When it was my turn I was led into a small room with a table and two chairs, the teacher in one of them as I sat in the other. The teacher was posing as a government agent who proposed that I move my "people" onto a reservation -- he was really trying to sell me on the idea by offering lots of incentives that I can't quite remember 27 years later. I do remember that my reaction was a very strong repulsion to the idea. I wasn't even all that sure what a reservation was, but I somehow knew it was wrong. I refused the offer and wouldn't be persuaded. Somehow that lesson stuck with me, and through the years I often felt that I wanted to make up for what my race had done to the Native Americans.

I found myself at the Western Shoshone Defense Project gathering in 1997 where I heard Margene Bullcreek, a Goshute woman who has been at the forefront of the resistance to PFS,  speak about it. I read Winona LaDuke's book "All Our Relations" in 2000 and learned a lot about environmental racism and how polluters were using native land as a loophole to get out of following environmental laws.

I eventually found out about Shundahai's action alert list and signed up to get involved, and through that involvement I met the man I would later marry and have a child with. Through my involvment with Shundahai, I found out about and attended the Action for Nuclear Abolition which was held at an encampment  near the gates of the Nevada Test Site  which is located on Western Shoshone land.

I spent only a little time on the Goshute reservation for a Shundahai event held on Margene's land there  in October 2004. It was very dry and dusty, and the wind never seemed to let up while we were there. I thought about the possiblity of leaking nuke waste casks and the dust swirling through it blowing it throughout the reservation and beyond, contaminating every thing for miles, making people and animals sick.

I hope we can stop the transportation and storage of nuke waste in Utah, but we also need to find other economic solutions for indigenous people who are targeted for their land. Much of the uranium used in our nuclear industry has been mined from Native American land, with over 1,000 abandoned uranium mines on the Navajo reservation which are poisoning the land and people there, according to "All My Relations" -- those people need to be fairly compensated and the toxic wastes cleaned up, as do many other indigenous victims of environmental racism. The United States has done wrong to the Native Americans since this country was founded, and it continues to this day. 

Just a few of the organizations that working for environmental justice for Native Americans:

Honor the Earth
Western Shoshone Defense Project
Shundahai Network
Greenaction (environmental racism)

Ohngo Gaudadeh Devia Awareness (Margene Bullcreek's organization)
Citizen Alert
Environmental Justice Foundation