Quantcast

GOP Lawmakers Launch Mining Assault on Grand Canyon

Energy

Center for Biological Diversity

Republican lawmakers led by Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) and Rep. Paul Gosar (R-Ariz.) proposed legislation Oct. 12 to open 1 million acres of public lands that form Grand Canyon National Park’s watershed to new uranium mining. The bill would overturn an existing moratorium on new mining and mining claims and block Interior Secretary Ken Salazar’s proposal to extend those protections for the next 20 years.

"We are disappointed in this jobs-killing legislation. Uranium mining threatens thousands of tourism-related jobs in northern Arizona,” said Roger Clark, air and energy program director at Grand Canyon Trust. “Salazar has found the right balance between protecting Grand Canyon and the $700 million tourism industry while leaving promising mining areas further from the national park open to exploration and mining.”

There is widespread public support for the interior’s proposed mining ban from American Indian tribes, local governments, scientists, elected officials, businesses, hunting and fishing organizations, and conservation groups. About 300,000 members of the public commented in support of the ban, which is expected to be decided in December.

“It is unconscionable that Senator McCain and Representatives Flake and Franks are seeking to undermine protections for Grand Canyon and its watershed and showing so little regard for the people of Arizona, including all of those who expressed strong support for protecting these lands from uranium mining and the pollution it produces,” said Sandy Bahr, director of the Sierra Club’s Grand Canyon Chapter.

The Grand Canyon and Four Corners region still suffers the pollution legacy of past mining. American Indian tribes in the region—Havasupai, Hualapai, Kaibab-Paiute, Navajo and Hopi—have banned uranium mining on their lands. Water in Horn Creek, located in Grand Canyon National Park just below the old Orphan uranium mine, exhibits dissolved uranium concentrations more than 10 times the health-based standards established by the U.S. EPA for drinking water. Groundwater below old mines north of Grand Canyon has measured dissolved uranium more than 1,000 times allowable for drinking-water standards.

“Neither mining corporations nor lawmakers nor public agencies can guarantee that uranium mining wouldn’t further contaminate aquifers feeding Grand Canyon’s springs and creeks. Such pollution—the kind we see in Horn Creek today—would be impossible to clean up,” said Taylor McKinnon of the Center for Biological Diversity. “A decade ago Senator McCain was a defender of Grand Canyon. Today he’s one of its greatest threats.”

For more information, click here.

EcoWatch Daily Newsletter

A roller coaster on the Jersey Shore flooded after Hurricane Sandy. Photo credit: Hurricane_Sandy_New_Jersey_Pier.jpg: Master Sgt. Mark C. Olsen / U.S. Air Force / New Jersey National Guard / CC BY 2.0

New Jersey will be the first state in the U.S. to require builders to take the climate crisis into consideration before seeking permission for a project.

Read More
The Director of the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention, Gao Fu speaks on Jan. 26 during a press briefing on studying the 2019-nCoV coronavirus and developing a vaccine to prevent it. Roman Balandin / TASS / Getty Images

Editor's note: The coronavirus that started in Wuhan has sickened more than 4,000 people and killed at least 100 in China as of Jan. 27, 2020. Thailand and Hong Kong each have reported eight confirmed cases, and five people in the U.S. have been diagnosed with the illness. People are hoping for a vaccine to slow the spread of the disease.

Read More
Sponsored
Healthline ranks Samoas, seen above, as the 11th healthiest Girl Scout Cookie. brian / Flickr / CC BY-ND 2.0

By Nancy Schimelpfening

  • Nutrition experts say healthy eating is about making good choices most of the time.
  • Treats like cookies can be eaten in moderation.
  • Information like total calories, saturated fat, and added sugars can be used to compare which foods are relatively healthier.
  • However, it's also important to savor and enjoy what you're eating so you don't feel deprived.

Yes, we know. Cookies aren't considered a "healthy" food by any stretch of the imagination.

Read More
Actress Jane Fonda is arrested during the "Fire Drill Friday" Climate Change Protest on Oct. 25, 2019 in Washington, DC. John Lamparski / Getty Images

When you see an actor in handcuffs, they're usually filming a movie. But when Jane Fonda, Ted Danson, Sally Field, and other celebrities were arrested in Washington, D.C., last fall, the only cameras rolling were from the news media.

Read More
A solitary Dungeness crab sits in the foreground, at low tide on an overcast day. The crabs' shells are dissolving because of ocean acidification on the West Coast. Claudia_Kuenkel / iStock / Getty Images

As the Pacific Ocean becomes more acidic, Dungeness crabs, which live in coastal areas, are seeing their shells eaten away, according to a new study commissioned by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).

Read More