Clean Up Toxic Uranium Site on Treasured Mountain

Mt. Taylor, Uranium Mine, New Mexico

Target: Fernando Martinez, Division Director of the New Mexico Mining and Minerals Division

Goal: Clean up idle mine instead of allowing it to remain inactive and pose hazardous health and environmental risks.

The health of tribal land, wildlife, and local residents is at risk from an idle uranium mine that hasn’t operated in 25 years. The mine has gone through only a minimal amount of cleanup. It still poses a serious risk to the land and environment. Uranium is a dangerous and toxic substance and this mine ruins the integrity of the mountain and could possibly contaminate the surrounding water supply and impact the survival of local wildlife. We must stand up for nature and demand that this site be cleaned up. This company should not be granted another standby permit.

The underground uranium mine is owned by Rio Grande Resources (RGR) and is located in western New Mexico. The mine is situated on Mt. Taylor, a sacred mountain of the Navajo tribe that is part of the Navajo’s original homeland range. RGR hasn’t mined any uranium out of the mine since 1990. The company is waiting for the price of uranium to rise to start up production again. However, the current production of uranium should suffice the demand for many years. Keeping this mine at standby status is simply allowing the company to further prolong cleanup efforts.

In the United States, there are approximately 500,000 unused mine shafts and tunnels. Sometimes referred to as zombie mines, these mines pose serious hazards because they are susceptible to cave-ins, may have trapped pockets of toxic material, and could contaminate the local water supply with toxins from inadequate drainage. Mt. Taylor is a popular recreational area that is full of outstanding wildlife such as elk, deer, black bears, mountain lions, and wild turkey. The mine could possibly pose health risks to outdoor enthusiasts and wildlife that get near the mine’s site. Even at low doses, uranium’s radiation can increase the risk of cancer and kidney damage.

By signing this petition, you are demanding that the New Mexico Mining and Minerals Division deny RGR’s permit for standby status.


Dear Director Martinez,

The Mt. Taylor uranium mine, owned by RGR, is an idle and hazardous site that has not operated for 25 years. There is no reason for RGR to wait on remediation and cleanup efforts. Uranium is a hazardous substance that can cause extreme harm to wildlife and humans who get close to this idle mine. Please deny RGR’s request to keep this site on standby. You will be protecting the health of this coveted Navajo mountain and its inhabitants.

There are hundreds of thousands of zombie mines in the United States. These mines can be dangerous on a variety of levels. This underground mine could cave in, hold pockets of radiation, and possibly discharge harmful toxins in the nearby water supply. The mine has not operated in decades and this standby permit will simply make it easier for the company to put off remediation efforts. Help keep New Mexico beautiful and safe from harmful radiation. Encourage the remediation of the Mt. Taylor uranium mine.


[Your Name Here]

Photo credit: teofilo

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One Comment

  1. Ruth Rogers Ruth Rogers says:

    Good petition!

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