Memorial in Support of Uranium Mining in Senate
A memorial in support of uranium mining has passed through the New Mexico Senate Rules and Conservation Committees. It is now scheduled to be heard on the floor. The memorial, sponsored by Senator Ulibarri, from Cibola, Socorro and Valencia Counties, instructs the New Mexico Environment and Energy, Minerals and Natural Resources Departments to "collaborate with the New Mexico uranium industry to resolve existing barriers in order to advance consideration of uranium production."
Senator Ulibarri described the memorial as being intended to foster communication between the government and the uranium industry. He believes that a resumption of uranium mining could be very good for the New Mexico economy. Opponents disagree, stating that past uranium mining has provided no long term economic benefit to New Mexico, citing the current state of poverty in western New Mexico. The memorial states that the uranium resources have been estimated to be worth approximately $ 43 billion.
One of the potential beneficiaries of the memorial is Hydro Resources Incorporated (HRI), a Texas based corporation. HRI proposes to remove uranium using in situ leach mining techniques, which inject a watery solution into the ground to strip the uranium from the sandstone. In Texas, this method has been shown to increase concentrations of uranium, other radioactive elements and heavy metals in the ground water. HRI and other uranium mining companies are proposing to mine in the Church Rock, Crownpoint and Mount Taylor areas.
Mining in these areas would be in violation of the a ban which the Navajo Nation passed in 2005 against all future uranium mining within Navajo Indian Country. The ban on uranium mining was put in place due to the devastating legacy which the Navajo people have suffered from the industry.
This memorial is scheduled to be heard on the New Mexico Senate floor on Friday, March 2nd, but may be delayed. If it passes through the Senate it will move to House Committees.
Memorial Against New Nuclear Weapons Passes through Committee
A memorial, which opposes the research, design and production of new nuclear weapons, passed through the New Mexico Senate Rules Committee. Senate Joint Memorial 47, which is sponsored by Shannon Robinson, calls for the halt of all development, production or manufacturing new plutonium pits or any other components of nuclear weapons in New Mexico. The memorial cites article 6 of the United States Constitution, which states that treaties are the supreme law of the land, and article 6 of the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty, which calls for the eventual elimination of nuclear weapons.
In particular, this memorial will have implications for the Department of Energy's (DOE) recent Complex 2030 proposal. With Complex 2030, DOE plans to modernize and increase the efficiency of the stockpile by redesigning existing nuclear weapons. The new designs will cater to new post Cold War threats and may include such developments as low yield nuclear weapons. Under Complex 2030, DOE may consolidate all plutonium activities at Los Alamos National Laboratory.
Shannyn Sollitt, of the Los Alamos Peace Project, said "future generations are dependant upon society waking up to peace."