Planning Underway for 2020 Uranium Remediation Projects on Navajo Nation

Published August 7, 2019

WINDOW ROCK, Ariz. — The Resources and Development Committee held a work session Monday, Aug. 5, 2019 to address facility, personnel and accounting requests with the Navajo Nation Environmental Protection Agency, Division of Community Development, Division of Human Resources and the Office of the Controller ahead of uranium remediation projects in 2020.

The work session between delegates and program leadership focused on three items:

  1. Contracts to remediate and upgrade the Navajo Nation EPA Superfund building;
  2. Creating and filling positions for uranium remediation projects by Jan. 2020;
  3. Establishing Navajo Nation N-Accounts for outside uranium remediation funds.

Navajo Nation EPA Director Oliver B. Whaley reported that the contracts to begin work on the Superfund building are being prepared by the Division of Community Development (DCD) Capital Projects Management Department. The building was purchased in 2016 for Navajo Nation EPA operations. DCD Executive Director Dr. Pearl Yellowman said that issues with a previous review of the contracts will be addressed so that work can start.

Director Whaley also detailed issues with creating 35 positions for uranium clean-up projects. Dr. Phefelia Fowler, Executive Director of the Division of Human Resources, gave the committee an overview of the current Personnel Action Form and classification processes for new employees and positions. 11 positions require classification to establish job descriptions, titles, responsibilities, qualification requirements and pay rates. The directors agreed to coordinate with the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) to streamline budget modification and position code processing.

General Accounting Manager Robert Willie of the Office of the Controller indicated that he will follow-up with Navajo Nation EPA and OMB to set up accounts for uranium clean-up funds.

“Let’s work together so that the field work begins on time,” said Delegate Kee Allen Begay, Jr.

The Resources and Development Committee is a standing committee of the 24th Navajo Nation Council. The Chairperson is Honorable Rickie Nez, the Vice Chairperson is Honorable Thomas Walker, Jr., and Honorable Delegates Kee Allen Begay, Jr., Herman M. Daniels, Mark Freeland and Wilson Stewart, Jr. are members.

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