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News Releases from Region 09

NEWS BRIEF: U.S. EPA awards Navajo Abandoned Mine Lands Program $328,000

Contact Information: 
Margot Perez-Sullivan (

For Immediate Release: August 25, 2016

Media Contact: Margot Perez-Sullivan, 415-947-4149,

SAN FRANCISCO — The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency today awarded the Navajo Nation Abandoned Mine Lands Program (NNAML) $328,849 to help assist EPA in the cleanup of abandoned uranium mines on the Navajo Nation.

NNAML will use the funds for various projects, including: training staff on pertinent EPA regulations; purchasing field equipment such as advanced GIS instruments and gamma detectors; and developing age-appropriate abandoned uranium mine safety materials for Navajo children and teens.

The funding will also assist NNAML scientists and engineers in sharing technical information with EPA about past work on abandoned uranium mine sites. That information is critical to understanding the full nature and extent of uranium mine contamination on Navajo Nation and will help determine future investigation and response activities. In partnership with both NNAML and Navajo Nation EPA, EPA continues to investigate and address contamination found at the 523 abandoned mines on the Navajo Nation.

NNAML was established in 1988 through a cooperative agreement with the Department of Interior’s Office of Surface Mining, Reclamation, and Enforcement (OSM). OSM administers the Abandoned Mine Lands Fund and forms cooperative partnerships with states and tribes to fulfill statutory responsibilities under the Surface Mining and Control Act (SCMRA). In 1994, DOI authorized NNAML to start addressing physical hazards associated with abandoned uranium mines. Since then, NNAML has successfully reclaimed hundreds of abandoned uranium mines across Navajo Nation trust land. Today, NNAML is a formal part of the governmental structure of the Navajo Nation, falling under the authority of the tribe’s Division of Natural Resources.

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