Abandoned uranium mines around the Grand Canyon are still risky and polluting.
TUCSON -- As President Barack Obama prepares to visit the Grand Canyon, Congressman Raúl M. Grijalva sent him a letter this week calling upon his administration to protect the Grand Canyon from future mining.
As Chairman of the Subcommittee on National Parks, Forests and Public Lands, Congressman Grijalva has asked the Administration to pursue a permanent protection of our national treasure.
Arizona State Rep. Daniel Patterson and other state leaders also are working to protect the Grand Canyon region from harmful uranium mining.
“While mining for uranium may be necessary and unavoidable in some cases, the Grand Canyon and the water source of the West, the Colorado River, are too precious to risk contaminating with radioactive material,” said Grijalva. “President Barack Obama’s visit to our Public Lands is a great opportunity to show appreciation for one of our country’s greatest treasures and by providing a permanent protection, it will ensure that the Grand Canyon will be unspoiled for our future generations.”
This past July, Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar took initial steps and decided to segregate nearly 1 million acres of federal lands in the Arizona Strip for two years while the Department evaluates whether to withdraw these lands from new mining claims for an additional 20 years.
Congressman Grijalva introduced legislation earlier this year, titled the Grand Canyon Watersheds Protection Act of 2009 (H.R. 644), to withdraw approximately one million acres near the Grand Canyon from mineral exploration under the 1872 Mining Act and provide permanent protection to both the Canyon itself, as well as to the Colorado River flowing through the Grand Canyon, which provides drinking water for tens of millions of citizens in the region.
- adapted from Rep. Grijalva