August 7, 2009

New Mexico wants more funds to deal with uranium contamination

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New Mexico needs more money to clean up abandoned uranium mines. Under the Bush Administration, much of the federal money designated for cleanup went to coal mines, writes Sue Major Holmes of the Associated Press. But New Mexico mining and mineral officials are more concerned about abandoned hardrock mines, including those opened between the 1950s and the 1980s when New Mexico was the nation’s leading producer of uranium.  Even though New Mexico received $3.8 million this year in federal funds for decontamination of abandoned mines and mills, only $800,000 of that is allowed to be used for cleaning up hardrock sites. Many of the abandoned mines are on tribal land. New Mexico officials are hoping Interior Secretary will reverse the changes made under the last administration to re-allow mine cleanup funds to be used for uranium cleanup.

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