White Mesa Community hosts annual protest
by David Boyle
On Saturday, October 7, around 50 members of the Ute Mountain Ute Tribe, along with support from other residents and environmental groups, held a Spiritual Walk and protest of the White Mesa Mill.
At the annual protest of the White Mesa Mill, Ute Mountain Ute Tribal Chairman Manuel Hart reported having conversations with elected representatives. He also asked Indian Health Services and the State of Utah to conduct an epidemiology study.
“We’re facing health disparities in Indian country, huge health disparities,” said Hart. “Not only diabetes but cancer and if this water is affecting this community of White Mesa then it is a big concern.
“Energy Fuels is looking at it from a profit margin and so is Utah. I do not think money should be put before the lives of tribal members.”
Most of the group made the five mile walk from the White Mesa Community Center to the turn-off to the mill, where protestors sang songs and delivered speeches.
White Mesa community member Yolanda Badback added, “We live down the road from this mill. When it’s running, we can smell it from our houses. They’re bringing radioactive waste from all over the country and the world to this mill. We want this to stop. We want the mill to close and clean up its mess.”