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New Mexico tribes concerned about plans to power nuclear lab

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The tribes say long-term mismanagement by the federal government has led to the desecration of sacred sites on Caja del Rio.

In April, the US Department of Energy’s National Nuclear Security Administration announced that it would be working with federal land managers to assess the project’s potential environmental impacts. But pueblo leaders insist there has not been adequate consultation with the tribes on the proposed project.

All Pueblo Governors Council President Wilfred Herrera submitted a letter to the Santa Fe National Forest on December 17, asking forestry officials to comply with the consultation requests.

Herrera, a former governor of Laguna Pueblo, said preserving Caja Del Rio’s sacred landscape is a collective priority for the council as it works to protect the ancestral homeland around the area. He said Caja del Rio is home to ancestors and pueblo spirits.

“We encourage the federal government to understand that to fully engage with pueblo we need your commitment and cooperation, especially during this time of year marked by transitions and holidays. rest. APCG stands ready to support decision-making to protect pueblo cultural resources in perpetuity,” he said in a statement released last week.

Federal officials say they will try to avoid known biological, recreational, cultural and historical resources, such as the El Camino Real de Tierra Adentro National Historic Trail. Another goal is to minimize line visibility from residential areas.

The project – which could cost up to $300 million – requires new aerial poles with an average span of 800 feet (244 meters), access roads for construction and maintenance, and staging areas where possible material storage.

Part of the line will be built along an existing utility corridor, but a new road will have to cut through forest land to reach an electrical substation.

Environmentalists, residents and others have expressed concern about the potential impacts, saying the area encompasses vast Indigenous landscapes and is a beautiful gateway to the west. northern New Mexico.

The area has seen an increase in the use of outdoor recreational activities and it is used as a wildlife migration corridor.

The Los Alamos Research Group, a watchdog group that has criticized plans to expand the Los Alamos lab, said the lack of an overall analysis of the cumulative effects that plutonium core production and many weapons work than it might cause to surrounding communities is another concern.

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This story has been updated to correct the name of the El Camino Real de Tierra Adentro National Historic Trail.

https://www.kob.com/national-news/new-mexico-tribes-concerned-about-plan-to-power-nuclear-lab/6345033/?cat=500 New Mexico tribes concerned about plans to power nuclear lab

Yasmin Harisha

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