Focusing on abandoned uranium mines across Navajo, EPA opens Flagstaff office – by Adrian Skabelund (Arizona Daily Sun – July 29, 2023)

Tuesday saw the opening of a new U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Office in Flagstaff that will be largely focused on investigating and cleaning up hundreds of abandoned uranium mines across the Navajo Nation.

The office comes as the agency, in cooperation with local partners, works toward a goal of remediating 110 high-priority mines by 2030. As it opens, the office, which is located on the U.S. Geological Survey campus near Buffalo Park, will have a staff of at least 14 employees. That number could increase, according to office manager Jacob Phipps.

Of those, three of the remedial project managers are Navajo, although Elsa Johnson, the EPA community involvement specialist, said the agency would like to increase the number of Navajo EPA staff working on this project as well.

EPA Pacific Southwest Regional Administrator Martha Guzman said the office represents a commitment to the cleanup effort and an important step in that journey overall.

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