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Prairie Island Indian community prepares for nuclear disaster

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PRAIRIE ISLAND, Minn. ? The Minnesota Senate unanimously passed a resolution last month urging the U.S. Congress to ensure the replacement of the Prairie Island Indian Community's land in the event of an incident that would render the land uninhabitable.

The community is 600 yards from a nuclear power plant and storage facility.

"Although it's unfortunate that such precautions need to be taken, we appreciate the Minnesota Senate's support in urging Congress to replace our land and preserve our sovereign land rights should a nuclear disaster occur at Prairie Island," said Tribal Council President Audrey Kohnen.

Adding to the tribe's concerns, if an incident should occur, is that there is only one permanent evacuation route off Prairie Island, and it is frequently blocked by rail traffic and subject to flooding.

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"We wanted to give the community our assurance that we support their efforts to replace their land should an accident occur and encourage them to work with our federal representatives to address this concern," said Senate Majority Leader Roger Moe, DFL-Erskine. Moe also drafted the resolution.