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The AML\UMTRA Department

The Navajo Nation geographical area extends over 26,000 square miles, occupying all of northeastern Arizona, the southeastern portion of Utah, and northwestern New Mexico. The environmental conditions vary from the dry lowlands of Cameron, Arizona to the mountainous, rough, and wet lands of the Chuska Mountain range. Mining legacy dates back to the late 1800’s for coal and the early 1900’s for minerals like uranium, vanadium, copper, and sand & gravel.

Navajo AML (NAML) was established in 1988 with the approval of the Navajo Reclamation Plan and Code by the Secretary of the Interior and The Navajo Nation.  The purpose of the Program is to fulfill the requirements of Public Law 95-87, “Surface Mining and Reclamation Act (SMCRA) of 1977, which addresses abandoned mine lands reclamation. With the Office of Surface Mining Reclamation and Enforcement (OSMRE), NAML has the authority to address abandoned mine land problems that include coal and non-coal (uranium, copper etc.) mines.

In 1989, Navajo AML conducted an on-the-ground survey of abandoned mine lands and inventoried 273 coal, 33 copper and over 1000 non-coal abandoned mines.   Since then, NAML has successfully reclaimed all the inventoried coal sites and received coal certification in 1994. In addition, other non-coal sites were addressed, a total of 913 uranium and 33 copper mines were reclaimed. The abandoned mines include both surface mines such as open pit, rimstrips, trenches, and underground mines with features like portals/adits, incline and vertical shafts. In the reclamation of uranium sites, the Health Physics personnel monitors radiation exposure for safety and environmental controls during the reclamation activities.

Navajo AML Reclamation continues to perform limited work on coal related issues that are reported by the public.

About Us

In 1988, the Navajo Nation Council approved the Navajo Reclamation Plan and Code in compliance with Title IV of the Surface Mining Control and Reclamation Act of 1977 (SMRCRA) to establish the Navajo AML Reclamation Department under the Division of Natural Resources. The department implements, administers and conducts reclamation of abandoned mine lands (AML) on the Navajo Nation.

The goal of Navajo AML is to reclaim AML problem areas in a safe and cost-effective manner, which is being successfully achieved through dedication and commitment of the Navajo AML staff. Our strategic values include quality reclamation work pursuant to SMCRA and our reclamation plans, while managing cost and schedules. With this significant accomplishment, Navajo AML begun planning to implement public facility projects to stimulate economic development for communities impacted by past and current mining activities.

As of 2002, NAMLRP has expanded its services by implementing a “Public Facility Projects” (PFP) to assist Navajo communities/chapters with funding for renovation/construction of community public facilities/utilities through competitive grants.

Objectives:

  1. To manage reclamation of abandoned coal and non-coal mines for the protection of public health, safety, general welfare, and property from extreme danger and other adverse effects from past coal and non-coal mining practices; and

  2. To conduct repairs, renovations and construction of public Infrastructure such as senior citizens centers, chapter buildings, utilities, roads, recreation facilities in communities adversely affected by coal and non-coal mining practices.

Mission Statement

Our Values: Proactive, Results Oriented, Customer Service, Innovation, Continuous Improvements, Fair & Honesty

 

The mission of Navajo AML / UMTRA Department is to "protect, restore, enhance and reclaim abandoned mines, develop infrastructure and facilities through AML Public Facility Projects, ensure the long-term stability of all UMTRA sites, and provide adequate public relations for the benefit of the Navajo people and the environment."

 

In support of this, Navajo AML / UMTRA commits to:

  • Promote partnership with local Navajo Nation, State, and Federal entities to strengthen environmental restoration techniques and infrastructure development;
  • Utilize technology to become more efficient and effective;
  • Provide quality customer services through accountability, honesty, fairness while being results oriented;
  • Promote staff development;
  • Ensure proper coordination and communication with programs and entities;
  • Complete all projects in a timely, quality, and cost-effective manner;
  • Ensure groundwater contaminants are addressed in accordance with the cleanup standards promulgated by U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA) and the Navajo Nation; and

Promote the Geographic Information System (GIS) development.

EVENTS

February 10, 2018 - Little Colorado River Half Marathon 

February 11, 2018 - Denehostso Chapter Meeting 10AM 

March 11, 2018 - Mexican Water Chapter Meeting 10AM

March 2018 - Shiprock High School STEM Event

March 2018 - GreyHills High School STEM Event

NEWS

JANUARY 8, 2018 - USEPA Region 9 New Release

The following news release is being issued today by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Region IX press office announcing a settlement agreement worth $500,000 with EnPro Holdings, Inc. to assess eight abandoned uranium mines located on the Navajo Nation, near Cameron and Tuba City, Arizona. For press related inquiries please contact Margot Perez-Sullivan (Perezsullivan.Margot@epa.gov) at (415) 947-4149. The news release and agreement can also be found online at: epa.gov/WesternAUMRegion.

 

JANUARY 16, 2018 - Dine Uranium Remediation Advisory Committee Meeting Jan. 25, 2018 @ 10am NDOT Tse Bonito, NM

This Commission meeting will be open to the public. The purpose of the Uranium Commission is to study and reach conclusions about the impacts of uranium mining and uranium processing on the Navajo Nation and to make recommendations to the President of the Navajo Nation and to the Navajo Nation Council for policies, laws and regulations to address those impacts.

 



 
AML-Timeline
1 Jan

1972

Environmental Protection
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1972 - Navajo Environmental Protection commission was established. 

3 Aug

1977

SMCRA
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1977 - Passage of the Surface Mining control and reclamation Act (SMCRA) 

19 Jan

1980

CERCLA
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Superfund or comprehensive envorinmental response, compensation and liability act (CERCLA) 

5 Jan

1988

NAMLRP
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1988 - Navajo Nation Divison of Natural Resource (DNR); Navajo Abandoned Mine Lands Reclamation Program (NAMLRP) 

6 Apr

1993

DC
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1993 - Congressional Hearings in DC, Navajo Nation Testimony 

5 Jan

1995

Navajo Nation Environmental Policy Act
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1995 - Navajo Nation Environmental Protection Agency became a Regulatory Agency. Also the passage of the Navajo Nation Environmental Policy Act. 

21 Jun

2007

Environmental Impacts
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Congressional Hearing on the Health and Environmental Impacts of Uranium Contamination in the Navajo Nation. 

14 Mar

2007

Impacts
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2007 - 5 Federal Agencies to address Uranium mines and impacts on the Navajo Nation also includes Navajo EPA 

23 Jan

2008-2012

US EPA First 5 year plan
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US EPA First 5 year plan 

31 Dec

2014-2018

US EPA Second 5 year plan
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US EPA Second 5 year plan 

19 Jan

2021

Extension of SMCRA
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Extension of SMCRA