The Mexican government and a corporation called Centro de Gestión Integral de Residuos S.A. (CEGRI) want to build a hazardous waste dump in O’odham territory, near the sacred site and village of Quitovac, with the implicit support of the US Environmental Protection Agency(EPA).
The proposed dump would desecrate the ceremonial site of Quitovac and devastate the culture, traditions, sacred sites and spiritual well-being of the O’odham Indigenous peoples in both Mexico and the U.S. The dump would also expose children and nearby communities to dangerous toxins and could contaminate the underground well that the communities depend on. Transport of hazardous materials through the nearby roads also causes O’odham activists concern. They point out that a spill or accident would have lasting impacts on the health of the traditional communities.
“When our sacred places are exploited and mined and lost to development and globalization we are severed from the very essence of our people and our original strength,” declared traditional O’odham activist Ofelia Rivas during the December 2008 Festival de la Dignia Rabia of the Zapatistas in Mexico City, “Our land and water rights have been depleted and privatized.”
Centro de Gestión de Residuos Integrales proposed the dump on the sacred site of Quitovac over 2 years ago. O’odham community activists, along with allies, O’odham Solidarity Project and Greenaction for Health and Environmental Justice, were notified in July 2008 that the company was no longer actively pursuing the permit. In recent months, CEGRI reopened negotiations to build the facility. The federal government in Mexico, as well as the state government of Sonora, has already approved the project. Only the local government of Sonoyta has not issued the permits that CEGRI needs to break ground.
“The US EPA has failed to speak out to protect the O’odham who are US Citizens and would be affected by the dump,” states supporter Bradley Angel of the San Francisco-based Greenaction for Health and Environmental Justice. He continued, “The US EPA has the power to inform the Mexican government of the true impacts of this proposed waste facility and pressure them to stop this proposal for good.”
Please contact the following entities to let them know you oppose the building of this toxic dump: The Mexican Embassy Washington, DC; Tel: 202.728.1600 Fax: 202.234.4498. The Mexican Consulate in San Francisco Tel: 415.354.1700 Fax:415.495.3971. Alfonso Flores, Mexican Secretary of the Environment: Tel:+52
For more information, contact: the O’odham Rights Cultural & Environmental Justice Coalition and the O’odham Voice Against the Wall: (520)349-5484, firstname.lastname@example.org. The Dry River Collective in Tucson, AZ: email@example.com. Greenaction for Health and Environmental Justice, SF: (415)248-5010, firstname.lastname@example.org
More information on the issue can be found at the O’odham Solidarity Project website, http://www.tiamatpublications.com/odham_solidarity_project.html.