The Grand Canyon

The new challenge to protecting the Grand Canyon region is uranium miners who’ve staked thousands of claims ringing the national park.

3/15/2012 From the Environmental Law firm Earthjustice:  

Uranium mining has left a toxic legacy in the area, polluting water that run through the Park, which has prompted the Park Service to warn hikers not to drink the water of certain streams, iincluding Horn Creek. (New mines are supposed to be better and cleaner. But the water pollution threatened by the “modern” flooded mines shows otherwise.)

Interior Secretary Ken Salazar stood up for protecting the lands around the national park, putting a million acres off limits to new mining claims.

"It is the greatest eroded canyon in the United States, if not in the world, is over a mile in depth, has attracted wide attention among explorers and scientists, affords an unexampled field for geologic study, is regarded as one of the great natural wonders, and annually draws to its borders thousands of visitors.”

Supreme Court Justice Willis an Devanter, 1920, in the original successfull effort to keep mining claims away from the Grand Canyon National Monument.

 The uranium industry doesn’t like protecting the Grand Canyon. And they are attacking not only the Grand Canyon protection measures, but also the Interior Secretary’s authority to protect lands. (Industry claims the Interior Department can’t protect more than 5,000 acres at a time from uranium mining claims.)

This time, Earthjustice and our clients – the Havasupai TribeGrand Canyon TrustCenter for Biological DiversitySierra Club, and National Parks Conservation Association – will be fighting to protect the Grand Canyon.  (We filed legal papers to formally intervene in the first of three industry suits last week.)