President Shelly Meets with U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission to Set Priority for Clean Up at Churchrock

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Contact: Jared King
Communications Director
Cell 202-200-0625

For Immediate Release

President Shelly Meets with U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission to Set Priority for Clean Up at Churchrock

Also Meets with National Park Service for Antelope Point Marina

WASHINGTON—Navajo Nation President Ben Shelly yesterday met with the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission Chairman Allison MacFarlane to set a priority for the clean up of uranium waste in Churchrock, New Mexico. 

“General Electric is ready to go forward to conducting the clean up operations,” President Shelly said.  “We’re ready for the Churchrock clean up project to begin.  I want to get it done as early as possible.”

General Electric, who acquired the property previously held by the now former United Nuclear Corporation, received a Record of Decision formally approving the disposal of mine waste and soil from the U.S. EPA Region 6.

“The more we delay, the more contamination will occur and the more the cost will increase,” President Shelly stated.  “As Americans we need to do the work now at a lower cost while creating jobs at the same time."

Accompanying the president to three afternoon meetings at the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission headquarters were officials from General Electric who avowed their support for the Navajo Nation. General Electric has worked with several federal agencies over the past year in acquiring approval for this clean up operation at Churchrock.

General Electric is prepared to spend some $65 million for the clean up which will begin once the permit is obtained from the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission.

The president emphasized during the meeting to not duplicate any environmental clearances which have already been performed, to coordinate the design work for the clean up, and to use sound data collection for the integrity of the project.

The president also met with Rachel Jacobson, principal deputy assistant secretary for Fish and Wildlife and Parks at the National Park Service to assert the Navajo Nation’s position on recent actions taken by the National Park Service violating agreements with the Navajo Nation owned and operated Antelope Point Marina on Lake Powell in Page, Arizona.

Commercial Use Authorizations allow private companies vendor capability in the park service areas as means of revenue generation.

The president sent a letter to the National Park Service outlining a broken agreement that includes non-compliance with Navajo preference laws, lack of tribal consultation, and questions of fees and revenues owed to the Navajo Nation.

“I need cooperation from the National Park Service,” President Shelly said.

In the meeting, Rachel Jacobson assured the president she will postpone the May 1 start date of the Commercial Use Authorizations, and begin making corrective actions.  The principal deputy assistant secretary assured the president they will make appropriate notifications, review agreements, and pursue consultation with the Navajo government.

The president is set to testify before the U.S. House Appropriations Committee, Subcommittee on the Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies on Thursday, advocating for appropriations for fiscal 2014.

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Subtitle: 
Also Meets with National Park Service for Antelope Point Marina