Matheson Says Thyroid Study Highlights Nuke Testing Risks
Salt Lake City, UT- Congressman Jim Matheson (D-Utah) said today (Thurs, Oct. 12th) the tireless work by a team of University of Utah scientists helps confirm the long-term health risks caused by exposure to radioactive fallout from nuclear weapons testing.
"Dr. Joseph Lyon and his associates have spent 40 years researching danger to those who were 'downwind' of nuclear testing in Nevada. The more we look, the more damage we uncover from this era, even as the federal government was telling us it was safe," said Matheson.
Matheson noted that it was Dr. Lyon's early studies that helped convince his late father-former Gov. Scott Matheson-to demand the release of classified data on the nuclear tests. Gov. Matheson died from a radiation exposure-related illness at age 61.
"The data proves that even underground nuclear tests are not safe. I have long opposed any effort to resume nuclear weapons testing in Nevada. My legislation-Safety for Americans from Nuclear Weapons Testing-establishes significant roadblocks in the way of any new testing. It explicitly requires Congress to authorize any weapons tests. And it creates the National Center for the Study of Radiation and Human Health-a regional consortium of universities that will study the health effects of radiation exposure and radiation-linked illnesses," said Matheson.
Recently, Matheson demanded the release of environmental data, prior to the planned detonation of a non-nuclear, 700-ton explosion by the Department of Defense at the Nevada Test Site. That test-known as "Divine Strake"-has been postponed indefinitely.
Matheson said an abstract of Dr. Lyon's study can be viewed at the following link: http://www.epidem.com/pt/re/epidemiology
Juaneno Bracamontes Addresses Mission Indian Gathering
Robert Bracamontes, a Native activist, writer and former correspondent for the LA Times, spoke at the Second Unity Gathering of Juaneno Band of Mission Indians held on October 8th in San Juan Capistrano, California.
In his address, Bracamontes urged the group to work toward the common goals of Unity and Federal Recognition. He spoke of the Past, the Present, the Future, Family Ties, Peace, Love, Justice, Politics, Survival, Native Pride, Education, Self-Definition and above all – the importance of JUANENO UNITY.
“We are living, breathing proof that unity is the will of the people and no government can stand in our way.”
To read his speech in its entirety go to www.onlinewithbob.com
FEDS FAILED TO TELL TRIBES BEFORE ENDING 'PROTEST AGREEMENT'
Submitted by the Western Shoshone Defense Project
By Launce Rake
Las Vegas Sun – October 03,2006 An agreement that swept away federal protests to the Southern Nevada Water Authority's plans to take billions of gallons annually from a rural White Pine County valley is raising objections from American Indians.
The Bureau of Indian Affairs was among the Interior Department agencies that signed the stipulation withdrawing their protests to the plan to drill wells and pump water from Spring Valley. The Confederated Tribes of the Goshute Reservation, one of more than two dozen American Indian governments scattered throughout Nevada, said the bureau failed to advise the tribal government of the agreement before entering into the stipulation with the Las Vegas water agency Sept. 10.
"By supporting SNWA, the federal government is, as usual, completely ignoring the trust responsibility that it has to protect Indian tribes and tribal resources," said Ed Naranjo, vice chairman of the Goshute Reservation. "The federal government has also intentionally violated its legal responsibilities to consult with Indian tribes when taking any action that may affect Indian tribes."
The Goshute Reservation is about 70 miles north of Spring Valley, on the Utah-Nevada state line. The tribe has fewer than 500 members, according to Naranjo. He said his concern is that natural resources, particularly water, are the tribe's most valuable resources.
The agreement between the Interior Department agencies, which included the National Park Service, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the Bureau of Land Management, came a day before the start of a two-week hearing before the Nevada state engineer's office.
The Water Authority, arguing that the water is needed to supply continued growth and to blunt feared effects from Western drought, has asked to take 91,000 acre-feet a year - about 30 billion gallons - from Spring Valley. The authority now supplies Las Vegas and its suburbs primarily with 300,000 acre-feet of Colorado River water it takes every year from Lake Mead.
Catherine Wilson, acting regional Bureau of Indian Affairs director, predicted that the Water Authority pumping will have few effects on the Indian lands and that in any case, the federal government should go along with what looked to be inevitable.
"The state engineer will likely rule in favor of SNWA and grant all or part of its requested amount of water unless there is overwhelming evidence that impacts will occur to existing water users, the proposed use will be detrimental to the public interests or there is no unappropriated water available," Wilson said in a Sept. 8 letter to the Goshutes. "With limited available data it is difficult to make a convincing case opposing the applications based on the above considerations."
The authority argued in the state engineer's hearing that Spring Valley can support the ground water plan without significant environmental damage, but has agreed to a still-unspecified program of monitoring and, if needed, mitigation.
Opponents to the ground water plan, among them environmentalists and White Pine County ranchers, argued that there is not sufficient water to support the authority's request without causing environmental damage.
The state engineer has to weigh the technical arguments and make a decision on how much water to take. His ruling is likely to take several months.
When the federal agencies announced the agreement with the authority, Bureau of Indian Affairs Director Pat Ragsdale said the water resources of the Goshutes and Ely Shoshone, another White Pine County tribe, would be protected.
"The terms of the agreement and associated monitoring network will ensure that any potential impacts from ground water pumping will be detected and addressed well before the impacts reach either reservation," Ragsdale said.
The Bureau of Indian Affairs letter to Goshute Tribal Chairman Rupert Steele acknowledges the lack of consultation.
"BIA apologizes for not being able to consult with the tribe on the stipulated agreement and 3M (monitoring, mitigation and management) Plan before it was approved," the letter said. "The timing of the hearing and the negotiations on the stipulated agreement limited BIA's ability to do so."
Naranjo, who testified against the Water Authority plan during the state engineer's hearings, noted that the Interior Department and the Las Vegas agency conducted negotiations over a period of months - the Interior Department said six months in a Sept. 11 news release - and could have consulted with American Indians during that time. He said the federal agency was legally required to consult with the tribe.
"They had ample time to consult with us," Naranjo said. "None of the tribes, as far as we know, was consulted."
Representatives of the Ely Shoshone, about 30 miles northwest of Spring Valley, and the Duckwater Shoshone in northwest Nye County, about 75 miles west, did not return Sun phone calls seeking comment.
Wendell Peacock, Bureau of Indian Affairs regional spokesman, said his agency will have ample opportunity to consult and comment with the Water Authority's independent but parallel process to win federal approval for the larger network of pumps and pipelines.
The environmental impact study on the project could take another two years, he said.
"The Southern Nevada Water Authority cannot convey any water until it receives a right-of-way from the BLM (Bureau of Land Management)," Peacock said. "This process is just beginning. Nothing is cut and dried."
Peacock said neither the Goshutes nor any other American Indian group asked to be included as signatories on the agreement, and that all are miles away from Spring Valley.
"For that reason alone, that could be the reason the BIA wasn't knocking on their door over these projects," he said. "The impact to the tribes doesn't look like it will be more than minimal."
Naranjo said the Goshute Reservation's business council will meet Friday to discuss the federal-Southern Nevada Water Authority agreement and how to respond. He said the issue should have been avoided: "In the past, water litigation with Indian tribes has cost the federal government, state governments, local governments and tribal governments billions upon billions of dollars, which could have been avoided with a simple phone call."
Launce Rake can be reached at 259-4127
or at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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