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Public Has More Time To Comment On New Uranium Mine Proposal

Ben Burkland via Flickr

The deadline has been extended for public comments on a controversial new uranium mine in New Mexico. The extension is in response to requests from multiple parties who say mining operations could threaten the Mount Taylor area, a site considered holy by many Native Americans in the southwest.

The proposed Roca Honda uranium mine, located next to San Mateo Mesa, is a joint venture of Strathmore Minerals and a Japanese nuclear utility company.  John Dejoia, Senior Vice President of New Mexico Operations for Strathmore Minerals says only minor disturbances such as roads and vent shafts would be located in the culturally sensitive areas of the project.

But Gregg Shutiva, Governor of Acoma Pueblo, says even minor disturbances on cultural property is are considered highly offensive by members of the tribe. "Even a road," Governor Shutiva says, "that is established by taking a grater and removing the first top foot of dirt, that may disturb cultural sites. It would be like plowing down the Vatican."

The US Forest Service released the draft environmental impact statement for the Roca Honda Uranium mine in February. The agency is accepting public comment through mid-June and is expected to make a final decision on the proposal by December.