Native Nations & Environmental Allies To Tell New Federal Administration to Abandon Any Thoughts of Reviving Dump Plan

Needles, CA -- After a decade-long struggle to stop the proposal for a nuclear waste dump at Ward Valley, California, hundreds of environmental and Native American activists will celebrate their victory this weekend at the desert valley.

Ward Valley is located 22 miles west of Needles, California, one mile south of Interstate 40 (take the Water Road exit). The Ward Valley issue assumed national proportions and involved mass protests, direct action, court battles and clashes in state and federal legislatures.

The celebration will begin at noon on Saturday, February 17 and last into the evening with traditional Native American song and dance. "We are coming together to celebrate this historic victory over the nuclear power industry and their allies in government. At the same time, we are sending a message to the new administration in Washington, D.C. that we remain strong and united and that we are not going away," said Nora Helton, Chairperson of the Fort Mojave Indian Tribe.

Three years ago, environmental activists and Native Americans joined forces in an occupation of the proposed dump site at Ward Valley in response to attempts by the federal government to conduct tests which would have desecrated land considered sacred by Indian tribes. After a 113 day occupation, federal rangers retreated in response to an overwhelming show of resistance. US Ecology, the company attempting to construct the dump, has failed in a number of court battles on the federal and state level.

U.S. Ecology has a track record of leaking nuclear dumps in Washington, Kentucky, Illinois and Nevada. Plans were to bury long-lasting and highly-dangerous radioactive wastes from nuclear power plants in shallow, unlined trenches, above an aquifer, in critical habitat for an endangered species and just 18 miles from the Colorado River. The protracted battle brought together a broad coalition of environmental and social justice activists, Native Americans, economists, scientists, community groups and elected representatives.

"This victory shows that ordinary people can win against overwhelming odds to protect our health and environment," said Bradley Angel, Director of Greenaction. "We are also sending a message to President Bush that any attempt to revive the Ward Valley dump project will be met with fierce resistance. We will never allow a dump at Ward Valley."

"Ward Valley is the worst place and shallow land burial is the worst way to deal with radioactive wastes. We will fight against irresponsible nuclear waste dumps anywhere in California," said Phil Klasky of the Bay Area Nuclear Waste Coalition.

Pictures and other information from the February 17, 2001 Victory celebration will be posted on the IEN web page www.ienearth.org "Ward Valley" and on the Greenaction web page www.greenaction.org

Colorado River Native Nations Alliance & Ward Valley Coalition

Contact: Nora Helton, Chairperson, Fort Mojave Indian Tribe (760-) 629-4591
Bradley Angel, Greenaction (415) 252-0822; cell (415) 722-5270
Phil Klasky, BAN Waste Coalition (415) 752-8678; cell (415) 531-6890