New Mexico Environmental Law Center’s mission is to protect New Mexico’s natural environment and achieve environmental justice for New Mexico’s communities through legal representation, policy advocacy and public education.
High quality, pro bono legal representation is a critical tool for communities fighting for human rights. For 25 years, the New Mexico Environmental Law Center has provided that representation to low-income communities and communities of color throughout New Mexico. Clients include Navajo and Pueblo groups that are fighting to reclaim their homelands from radioactive Cold War-era uranium contamination; we also are working together to prevent new uranium mining that would result in another era of massive contamination, public health problems and impacts to sacred sites.
The Law Center, in partnership with its client, Eastern Navajo Dine Against Uranium Mining, has successfully protected the Navajo villages of Churchrock and Crownpoint from proposed uranium mining. The proposed mines would contaminate scarce groundwater resources and result in nearby schools and residences being subjected to radioactive air emissions.
Our efforts have resulted in a Navajo Nation law banning uranium mining within Navajo Indian Country and an unprecedented human rights petition to the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights, taking the United States to task for its human rights abuses in licensing the proposed uranium mines.