RCRC News

Job Vacancy Announcement

Program Coordinator
The Rio Colorado Reclamation Committee (RCRC), a non-profit citizens group, is seeking a part-time Program Coordinator to manage community outreach and organizing around issues related to mine reclamation/clean-up at the Molycorp mine site in Questa, NM. Knowledge of Questa area and community preferred. Small business owners, women and minorities are encouraged to apply. 10-15 hours a week at $15-$20/hr. depending upon experience. Read more about this vacancy and how to apply.

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ATSDR releases draft of its Public Health Assessment (2,948kb) for public comment.

On September 1, 2004, the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR) released a draft of its Public Health Assessment of Molycorp, Incorporated, Questa, Taos County, New Mexico for public comment. The public comment period for this report ends on October 22, 2004.

The 79 page document is the result of a 14 month in4vestigation of the Questa area of past and present hazardous health problems created by the activities of the Molycorp mine through contamination of surface and ground water and air pollution. This area includes Questa, Cerro, El Rito, Latir, Costilla, Red River, Lama, Arroyo Hondo, Arroyo Seco, El Prado, Taos, Ranchos de Taos, and anyone who worked for or currently works for the Molycorp mine regardless of where they live or lived.

This investigation was mandated by law as a result of the Molycorp mine being placed on the National Priorities List (NPL) or Superfund list. Molycorp was identified as a Potentially Responsible Party (PRP) for creating hazardous conditions through contamination of surface and ground water and through air pollution. This contamination has been shown to affect the health of members of the affected community and mine employees over the mine's many years of operation.

ATSDR came to Questa on June 23, 2003 for several days of discussions with community groups and with the community where it outlined its goals. These goals included gathering confidential health information from individual community members about their health concerns, surveying the mine site, and visiting other areas in and around the community of known contamination locations. Many of these locations included tailings spills, illegal tailings dumps, and areas of seepage into the Red River, ground water and private wells from the tailings impoundment in Questa, the milling facility, and waste rock dumps upstream from Questa.

The assessment is available for public review through Oct. 22 at:

Village of Questa Buildings
2500 Old State Road 3
Questa, NM

The assessment is also available on ATSDR's web site at www.atsdr.cdc.gov. [The assessment is also available on the RCRC website at: www.rcrc.nm.org/documents/pdf/molycorp-public-health-assessment.pdf].

The public is encouraged to comment on the findings or proposed activities noted in the assessment. Comments must be made in writing to:

Chief, Program Evaluation, Records and Information Services Branch
ATSDR
1600 Clifton Road, N.E. (MS E-32)
Atlanta, GA 30333

Comments received during the public comment period will be logged in to the ATSDR administrative record for this public health assessment. Comments received, without the names of individuals who submitted them, and ATSDR responses to the comments will appear in an appendix to the final public health assessment. Names of those who submit comments, however, will be subject to release for requests made under the U.S. Freedom of Information Act.

For more information, community members may contact ATSDR Environmental Health Scientist Jill Dyken or Community Involvement Specialist Debra Joseph, toll free, at 1-888-422-8737. ATSDR Regional Representative Patrick Young also may be contacted at 214-665-8562. Callers should refer to the Molycorp site in Questa, New Mexico.

Everyone is strongly encuraged to review this important document and to attend a community meeting to be held at the St. Anthony's Parish Center in Questa on September 22, 2004 at 6:00pm.

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CDC assessment says Molycorp contaminants could pose health risk

A story in the Taos News reports that "Contaminants released from the Molycorp mine in the 1970s through the 1990s could still be hazardous to your health, and officials from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention are coming to Questa to prove it. " The story appears in the Sept. 16-22, 2004 Taos News and in the online version of the paper (http://www.taosnews.com/).

In a press release dated September 9, 2004, the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR) the agency says that "Past exposure to site-related contaminants in certain private wells or in tailings dust could have caused harmful health effects at the Molycorp, Inc. site in Questa, N.M..."

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