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Tribes and Dept. of Energy sign cooperative agreement

US Department of Energy

The Department of Energy and the Tribal Joint Business Council have signed a cooperative agreement for one year to address the work being done on the contaminated uranium mill tailings site on the Wind River Indian Reservation.

The Riverton Site is where a uranium and vanadium ore processing facility operated until the 1960s. The DOE is responsible for long-term management of the site, but the Tribes have pushed for more involvement in the process.

This Cooperative agreement provides the Council with $136,000 to oversee DOE’s monitoring activities, start on a supplemental risk assessment study, and help with additional site characterization and modeling.

Ryan Ortiz directs the Wind River Environmental Quality Commission. He says, in addition to the technical work, another big focus will be communication with the community.  

“One of the major things that we’re working on is to develop a presence where it’s known out in the community, where people can come right in the direct vicinity to get information and educational materials,” says Ortiz.  

The DOE will meet with the Council Wednesday about the agreement but Ortiz says the Tribes are happy with the agreement and he does not anticipate changes going forward. 

Irina Zhorov is a reporter for Wyoming Public Radio. She earned her BA from the University of Pennsylvania and an MFA from the University of Wyoming. In between, she worked as a photographer and writer for Philadelphia-area and national publications. Her professional interests revolve around environmental and energy reporting and she's reported on mining issues from Wyoming, Mexico, and Bolivia. She's been supported by the Dick and Lynn Cheney Grant for International Study, the Eleanor K. Kambouris Grant, and the Social Justice Research Center Research Grant for her work on Bolivian mining and Uzbek alpinism. Her work has appeared on Voice of America, National Native News, and in Indian Country Today, among other publications.

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