New Violations at White Mesa Uranium Mill
Partners: Bears Ears Inter-Tribal Coalition, Grand Canyon Trust, Grand Staircase-Escalante Partners, Navajo Nation, Utah Diné Bikéyah, Ute Mountain Ute Tribe
Airport Origin : Blanding, UT
EcoFlight’s recent overflight uncovered new radioactive waste violations at the White Mesa Mill, a uranium mill located near Bears Ears National Monument and the Ute Mountain Ute community of White Mesa.
On July 7th, we flew the Mill and discovered Cell 1, a waste impoundment, is not adequately covered with liquid, as required by the EPA. Cell 1 holds toxic materials and must be covered with water to prevent cancer-causing radon emissions from entering the air. The EPA previously ordered the Mill to correct similar violations in Cell 4B, after EcoFlight passengers photographed and reported the inadequately filled holding cell in August 2021. While denying wrongdoing, the Mill’s operator did agree to begin refilling Cell 4B. However, our July 7th overflight showed, more than seven months later, 4B is still not covered - toxic material remains visible. The EPA will be on-site to inspect the Mill’s increasing violations soon. EcoFlight will continue to watchdog the White Mesa Mill and advocate for corrective action to ensure the safety of the nearby Ute Mountain Ute community.
Click for aerial photos from flight passenger Tim Peterson of Grand Canyon Trust.