"Radioactive Revival in New Mexico"

"Mitchell Capitan points to a flock of sheep grazing in the shadow of a sandstone mesa. The sheep belong to Capitan's family, along with a few head of cattle and twelve quarter horses standing in a corral near his mother-in-law's house in Crownpoint, New Mexico.

'All of this area,' Capitan says, gesturing to the valley of sage and shrub brush below, 'there's a lot of uranium underneath there. That's what they're after.'

Capitan and his Navajo neighbors are battling a license granted by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission to Hydro Resources Inc. (HRI)--a subsidiary of a Texas company, Uranium Resources--one of several firms that have laid claim to the minerals beneath thousands of acres on and around the lands of the Navajo Nation and three American Indian pueblos in northwestern New Mexico. A group called the Eastern Navajo Diné Against Uranium Mining is suing the NRC to block mining in Crownpoint and another Navajo community. A panel of federal judges in Denver heard the case in May 2008 but has yet to issue a ruling."

Shelley Smithson reports a long feature for June 10, 2009, issue of The Nation.

Source: Nation, 06/18/2009