Multicultural Alliance for Safe Environment MASE

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Multicultural Alliance for a Safe Environment

Issue #2 – March 17, 2011 –

This newsletter contains articles, insights, information, and news. Forward this newsletter to a friend!

Dear MASE Friends:

The legislative session is nearly over and MASE has secured several victories. All but one of the bills we were working to defeat has been tabled! Congratulations to everyone involved. Thank you for making phone calls and sending in emails to your representatives. The final days of the legislature are often the trickiest, so we will keep you posted on any pro-uranium bills that may come up and will be sure to let you know how you can help.  Read on for updates, including the Youth Advocacy Training Day that was held earlier in the session. 

Nadine Padilla
MASE Coordinator

Also, please check out our website for more information on MASE’s current projects.

Update on this year’s legislative bill watch

HB 48: Cultural Properties Review Committee Duties. Sponsored by Representative Paul Bandy (R), District 3. This bill allows the state historic preservation officer to have all of the substantive powers to designate cultural properties rather than the existing committee. Update: TABLED.

HB 111: Uranium Legacy Cleanup Act. Sponsored by Representative Patricia Lundstorm (D), District 9. This bill would create the Uranium Legacy Fund, which would tax all new mining projects for the purpose of creating a fund to offset any damages or personal harm caused by the mining. However, mining operations could also receive loans from the fund. MASE position on bill: Significant amendments need to be made this bill in order for it to be helpful to uranium-impacted communities. MASE will propose amendments. Update: TABLED.

HB 225: Water Quality Control Act Revisions. Sponsored by Representative Andy Nunez (D), District 36. This bill would revoke power from the Water Quality Control Commission and give it to the Secretary of the Environment Department. Update: TABLED.

SB 249: Water Quality Act Rule Making Authority. Sponsored by Senator Phil Griego (D), District 39. This bill would also take power from the Water Quality Control Commission and give it to the Secretary of the Environment Department. Update: TABLED.

HB 422/SB 421: Cultural Property Registration and Acquisition.  House bill sponsored by Rep. Martinez, Senate bill sponsored by Sen. Adair.  These bills would severely limit the state’s ability to protect places of cultural importance.  Update: House bill in Judiciary, Senate bill tabled.

In The News
Following are links from newspaper reports around the world on the issues of uranium mining and clean energy we thought might of interest. These articles do not necessarily reflect the views of MASE or any of our affiliates.

JUST IN FROM “SORTIR DU NUCLEAIRE,” a French anti-nuclear coalition
Global Call: Antinuclear Gathering March 20.

Dear Friends,

Right now, Japan is undergoing the worst nuclear catastrophe since Chernobyl. Four reactors have partially melted down, huge amounts of radioactivity has been released, and a poisonous cloud could spread through Japan and even further. The catastrophe is not over. In spite of all efforts, the cooling of the reactors cannot be completed successfully. Beside, the poisonous gas released will fall out and remain on the ground and in the water for decades, and even more.
We send a call to all antinuclear groups and all people concerned about this ongoing catastrophe to organize gatherings this Sunday, March 20. To express our solidarity with the Japanese people and to spread the word: nuclear power must be phased out, all over the world! Some gatherings are already organized in France and Spain. You can register your gathering here :

Nuclear Power Not Clean, Green or Safe
by Jennifer Marshall

One week after the devastating earthquake unleashed a tsunami in which at least 10,000 people are feared dead, Japan is facing a deepening nuclear disaster.  The only good that can possibly come out of this crisis is that the world will reassess nuclear safety in light of Fukushima crisis. Currently there are 104 nuclear power plants in the United States and operators are seeking permission to build at least 20 more. Obama's 2012 budget includes $36 billion in loans for the nuclear reactor industry. Can this catastrophe somehow teach politicians, energy executives and the general public that nuclear power is not clean, green or safe?

In Germany, yes. Chancellor Angela Merkel ordered the closure of Germany's seven oldest nuclear plants on Tuesday. "We will use the period of the moratorium to speed up the turnaround in energy," Ms. Merkel told the German parliament. "We want to reach the era of renewable energy as fast as possible." Many leaders from New Mexico colleges, the renewable energy industry, non-profit organizations, and state and local governments have been working tirelessly to transition our state away from dirty energy such as coal, oil and gas and uranium mining.  It is critical that the U.S. government follows Germany’s lead now.

And as four of the six reactors at Fukushima Dai-ichi have shown signs of possible meltdown, the timing couldn’t be more crucial. The explosion Saturday blew the roof off one building and caused a radiation leak of unspecified proportions, escalating the emergency. A cloud of white-gray smoke from the explosion billowed from the reactor and officials said leaks of radiation from the plant prompted them to expand the evacuation area around the facility to a 12-mile radius.

Geiger counters are being used to check everyone especially people most susceptible, the children and the elderly. Survivors are being given iodine tablets with the hope that thyroid cancer, leukemia and other radiation exposure effects will be minimized with iodine although it only protects the thyroid, not the rest of the body.  To date, 100 people have tested positive for radiation.

This earthquake is the most severe in the history of Japan. We know this catastrophic nuclear event is not over.  Nuclear destruction can radiate thousands of miles away, and last for many years as we know from Chernobyl.  The United States is deploying additional radiation monitors on Hawaii and other U.S. islands.

There are hundreds of families in New Mexico that have suffered health and environmental effects for more than 60 years from uranium mining. Requests for permits for uranium mining in and around the Grants mineral belt should not be granted in the aftermath of this nuclear crisis. It is time for the United States to transition from dirty and unsafe energy sources into renewable energy to embrace a clean, safe future for all.  

Jennifer Marshall is the president of the Marshall Plan ( and has been working with MASE since December 2010.


In February, MASE organizer Nadine Padilla, New Mexico Environmental Law Center attorney  Eric Jantz, and Southwest Research and Information Center's director of Uranium Impact Assessment Program, Chris Shuey, were interviewed for an article that appeared in the Colorado College's Cipher Magazine. Read the article Battle for the Wild West: Sacred Landscape or Exploitable Commodity? On our website

House passes bill to reduce state rules for uranium mining From the Rapid City Journal
The South Dakota House passed Senate Bill 158 on a 57-11 vote, with supporters arguing that experts for the Nuclear Regulatory Commission already handle the core regulatory duties for injection-well uranium mining. South Dakota's rules in that regard are duplicative, they said. The bill's purpose is to end permitting responsibilities for the state in areas that are already handled by the NRC and the Environmental Protection Agency.

Special Report: Uranium Mining in Montrose County From KREX Newsroom, Colorado
History is being made right here in Western Colorado with a new uranium mine planned for Paradox Valley. Some say it's going to save the local economy while others say the dangers aren't worth the risk. This new uranium mine has been in the works for years. It's the country's first new uranium mill in more than 25 years, and it's been met with support and opposition and even a challenge in court.

Solar Energy Spars with Spiritual Lands in California From New Scientist
A group called La Cuna de Aztlan Sacred Sites Protection Circle has united with activists to challenge the [solar energy] projects, which have been approved by the US government. The group claims that the facilities will threaten burial sites and ancient geoglyphs.

Logo Contest Extended
In December MASE announced a logo contest to find the perfect logo that communicates MASE’s vision and mission: The Multicultural Alliance for a Safe Environment envisions respectful, peaceful communities cherishing a healthy environment. MASE is rooted in the experiences of uranium-impacted communities of the southwestern U.S. We are communities working to restore and protect the natural and cultural environment through respectfully promoting intercultural engagement among communities and institutions for the benefit of all life and future generations. We have been accepting logos submissions for the past few months and plan to make an annoucement  with our new logo soon. The official guidelines on our website.

This Month’s Featured Article
This month’s featured article is by Mike Butler. Mike was one of the organizers for the Youth Environmental Justice Lobby Day. He’s also a member of the MASE ally group
Think Outside the Bomb. Mike is from Gallup. 

Recap: Youth Environmental Justice Lobby Day
By Mike Butler
On February 4, MASE held its first NM Youth Environmental Justice lobby day. Five young people from all over New Mexico went to Santa Fe to engage in the political process. Our day started by listening to Native New Mexico leaders address the joint session of the legislators. This was a new experience for most of us, and we were impressed with some of the speeches demanding better education and free healthcare for all New Mexicans.

After the speeches were over, our group we went to the House floor to meet some of the  legislators. We talked briefly with Rep. Lundstrom about her “clean up” bill. We told her that we do not support any mining. She basically responded that “it's going to happen.”

After that Leona Morgan conducted a very helpful and informative training on the ins and outs of lobbying. She toured us around the Roundhouse, showing us where to find agendas, how to located our  legislators offices are located, and explained how bill is made.
Leona later introduced us to Rep. Lovejoy who told us that uranium mining was likely to happen because we are “out-numbered” by the people who are pro-uranium. Our group explained that we were there to voice our concerns about uranium mining. At lunch over pizza, we discussed what we had learned. We all felt angered by what our legislators had told us, and resolved that we would continue to come back to the Roundhouse to keep the pressure on our legislators.

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Mark Your CalendarSaturday and Sunday, March 19-20
The North American Indigenous Peoples’ Caucus (NAIPC) will be held at the Blue Lake Rancheria, in Blue Lake, California, This meeting will prepare issues and a report for the United Nation’s Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues that will be held at the UN headquarters in New York, May 16th - 27th of this year. For more information click here

Tuesday, March 22, 9 a.m.- 5 p.m.
United Nations Human Rights Training Workshop at the Indian Pueblo Cultural Center, Albuquerque. The workshop will cover:·        
How to use the UN Convention on the Elimination of all forms of Racial Discrimination (ICERD) to defend human rights ·         Implementing the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples and Free, Prior and Informed Consent
 UN Human Rights Council update: the US Universal Periodic Review final report
Location: 2401 12th St. NW Albuquerque, New Mexico (505) 843-7270

Wednesday, March 30
MASE representatives will travel to Washington D.C. to discuss the ongoing impacts and destructive legacy of uranium mining for a panel marking the 30th anniversary of Chernobyl.

Support the Cause
If you’d like to make a donation to help support MASE, please mail your contributions to the address below. All contributions are tax-deductible and go towards advancing the cause for clean energy in New Mexico.

Multicultural Alliance for a Safe Environment (MASE)
P.O. Box 4254
Albuquerque, NM 87196

Want to contribute your time? We’re always excited to work with volunteers from the community. If you’d like to volunteer you time or service please call 505-240-3104 and leave a message for Nadine.

Thanks so much!   The MASE Team

MASE Affiliated Groups and Allies
Amigos Bravos, Taos and Albuquerque; McKinley Community Health Alliance, Gallup; Moquino Mutual Domestic Water Consumers Association, Cebolleta; New Mexico Environmental Justice Working Group, Albuquerque; New Mexico Environmental Law Center Santa Fe; Office of Peace, Justice and Creation Stewardship, Gallup; Partnership for Earth Spirituality, Albuquerque; Ramah Navajo Community, Ramah; Red Water Pond Road Community Association, Coyote Canyon Chapter; Sierra Club Environmental Justice Office, Flagstaff; Southwest Research and Information Center, Albuquerque; Stewards of Creation, Albuquerque and Gallup; New Mexico Environmental Law Center; NukeWatch; Think Outside the Bomb; Western Mining Action Network and Wise Uranium Project.


Jennifer Marshall