Havasupai Tribe sends letter to ADEQ citing concerns over uranium mine

By Ron Dungan
Published: Tuesday, May 31, 2022 - 6:27pm
Updated: Wednesday, June 1, 2022 - 6:51am
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Coverage of tribal natural resources is supported in part by Catena Foundation

The Arizona Department of Environmental Quality recently granted an aquifer protection permit for a uranium mine located less than 10 miles from a tribal community in the Grand Canyon, but the Havasupai Tribe still has concerns about the quality of its water.

The Havasupai Tribal Council sent a letter of opposition to ADEQ Friday.

It reiterated its opposition to Pinyon Plain Mine and said the state failed to consider the best science available or the concerns of the tribe, which has opposed the mine for decades.

For much of that time, uranium prices remained low, but the war in Ukraine has helped change that, and the tribe is concerned that the mine could go into production.

"We strongly believe as a tribe that Arizona Department of Environmental Quality isn’t doing their job. They’re not protecting the environment," said Stuart Chavez, a member of the Havasupai Council.

In 2016, the mine punctured a shallow aquifer.

Since then, it has had to pump out millions of gallons of contaminated water.