CALL SCRIPT

(personalize if possible, add details from the talking points in the link below or other information you are aware of or are concerned about):

I strongly oppose the Trump administration’s “re-proposal” to weaken the 2015 EPA proposed rule to limit contamination of uranium in drinking water. The existing proposal has already had extensive public comment and scientific review and should go into effect as planned. The new proposal will significantly weaken standards for monitoring, requirements for cleanup of drinking water sources, and public participation in rule-making. Those citizens, disproportionately Native Americans, who live in areas impacted by uranium mining should be protected from unsafe drinking water and ongoing contamination of their aquifers. The timeframes for monitoring, the requirements for establishing baselines before mining begins, the restoration goals and cleanup deadlines, and the public’s fundamental right to participate in setting contamination limits, which are described in the 2015 proposal, are supported by science and administrative procedure and should be retained.

Background

The Trump Administration wants to roll back and weaken proposed EPA standards that would prevent, monitor and remedy groundwater contamination during and after uranium extraction operations. More than 4000 mines have a history of producing uranium, almost all of them in the western states, and uranium mining is expected to increase over the next decade. It is estimated that 60 to 80 percent of all uranium in the United States is located on Native-American tribal land; there are 1,200 abandoned uranium mines in the Navajo Nation, where cancer rates are also significantly disproportionate. Radionuclide contamination of down-gradient drinking water aquifers has been documented at a number of uranium mines in recent years. The proposed standards, first issued in 2015, are intended to protect down-gradient groundwater used for drinking water as well as setting post-closure groundwater restoration goals. As most uranium ore in the USA is now mined using on-site leaching methods, it is critically important to restore impacted groundwater to acceptable standards. The new standards proposed by EPA in 2015 included key provisions to monitor groundwater, meet restoration goals, set drinking water standards, and continue long-term monitoring. The EPA, under Pruitt, has “re-proposed” this rule; the new rule would significantly weaken the earlier proposed standards and alter or eliminate many of the earlier provisions to the benefit of the mining industry.

For additional information and key points see this post from SaveEPA.