Rep. O’Halleran Applauds EPA Grant to Diné College

March 2, 2017
Press Release

Washington, DC – Today, Congressman Tom O’Halleran shared news from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency that Diné College has been awarded $380,000 to determine the impact of abandoned uranium mines on water in northeastern Arizona. The grant supports the EPA’s Cove Watershed Assessment project

According to the EPA, the project is part of efforts to asses and clean abandoned Tronox (formerly Kerr-McGee) uranium mine sites. In a 2014 settlement with the federal government, Kerr-McGee Corp. and Anadarko Corp. agreed to pay $1 billion to clean up approximately 50 sites where radioactive waste remains from former mining operations.

“This grant creates once-in-a-lifetime opportunities for Diné College students and professors and the surrounding communities,” said Rep. O’Halleran. “Students will receive invaluable hands-on training and gain real world experiences by working alongside EPA scientists and engineers. This investment in education is vital to the economic and ecological vitality of rural Arizona.”

A statement from the EPA explained that Diné College will assist EPA scientists with sampling for heavy metal and radiological contamination of streams, unregulated wells, and livestock watering areas. In addition, students will use spatial analytical tools to understand the mining impacts in the Cove area and help convey research findings to the community.  The data collected will be used to develop sound cleanup strategies and mine waste disposal methodologies.

Diné College, opened in 1968 as the Navajo Community College, is a tribal community college in Tsaile, Arizona. It is the first college established by Native Americans for Native Americans, and it serves the Navajo Nation.