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July 1, 1999

WASHINGTON D.C. -- Earth Challenge, a Decatur based non-profit organization, and its 13-woman cycle team are bicycling 2,300 miles from Atlanta to Yucca Mountain, the proposed site for a national nuclear waste disposal facility.  

"I want to personally thank the women of Earth Challenge for their valiant efforts in their 'Shifting Gears Ride for Environmental Action' ride.  Their dedication to addressing environmental issues throughout the nation is an inspiration.  I am proud to have such an organization within my community," says McKinney.  

Earth Challenge will be stopping in Albuquerque, New Mexico on Thursday for a press conference to highlight the work of the Eastern Navajo Dine Against Uranium Mining (ENDAUM).  ENDAUM is working to stop uranium mining in the Navajo communities of Church Rock and Crownpoint, New Mexico.  Hydro Resources, Inc. (HRI) plans to mine uranium from a groundwater aquifer that serves as the only source of drinking water for 15,000 Navajo residents.

"Earth Challenge is bringing much needed attention to the plight of the Navajo people in New Mexico.  The US can not continue its policy of exploitation towards native Americans.  HRI is blatantly disregarding the health of the Navajo people, we need to come together to end the marginalization of native people.  I applaud the efforts of ENDAUM, and I will make sure their voice does not fall on deaf ears on capital hill," says McKinney.

Earth Challenge co-directors Susan Alzner and Leigh Lytle indicate that the primary purpose of the organization is to improve environmental health through individual and community empowerment.  Their goals include the elimination of Yucca Mountain as a nuclear storage facility and the protection of human rights for groups like ENDAUM.

"We can not turn our highways and railways into a 'Mobile Chernobyl.'  The United States will not survive if we continue our irresponsible environmental policies.  Sacrificing our future for profit is reprehensible.  I will fight for public policy based on common sense, and not the bottom line," concludes Congresswoman McKinney.

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