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USGS wants to understand health risks from uranium mining to Havasupai Tribe

For the first time, the U.S. Geological Survey is considering potential harms to tribes from mining uranium in northern Arizona. The agency published a 20-page  report this week acknowledging the risks from uranium mining to the cultural resources of the Havasupai Tribe. 

The report notes the risks specifically from the Pinyon Plain mine, the newly operating uranium mine south of the national park located very near Red Butte, a site considered sacred to tribes.

The report notes that specific rituals in the area, from collecting medicinal plants to breathing in the smoke of area vegetation like sage could introduce new risks.

And it recommends that cultural understandings like these become a part of the decision-making process for mining near the Grand Canyon. 

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Fronteras Desk senior editor Michel Marizco is an award-winning investigative reporter based in Flagstaff.