Arizona Lawmakers Urge President To Not Allow Uranium Mining Near Grand Canyon
Late last week, Congressman Tom O’Halleran (AZ-01), whose District includes much of the Grand Canyon National Park, sent a letter signed by Reps. Raúl M. Grijalva (AZ-03), Ruben Gallego (AZ-07), and Kyrsten Sinema (AZ-09) urging President Donald Trump to not modify Public Land Order Number 7787, the 20-year ban on new uranium mining projects in the Grand Canyon Watershed.
In a November, 1st announcement, the U.S. Forest Service announced its recommendation to revise the mining ban and allow mining operations to begin on previously withdrawn land.
“Allowing uranium mining near the Grand Canyon would be a major blow to northern Arizona communities that are still coping with the hazardous impact of the hundreds of existing uranium mines that the federal government has failed to clean up,” said Rep. O’Halleran. “We need to get serious about protecting our precious natural resources for future generations of Arizonans and Americans across the West. I thank my colleagues in the delegation for joining me on this letter, and I urge the Administration to reconsider this proposal and the impact mining would have on the health and wellbeing of American families.”
“Uranium mining near the Grand Canyon threatens our water, wildlife, environment, and health, especially in tribal and rural communities,” Rep. Grijalva said. “I thank Rep. O’Halleran for helping lead the fight to prevent another destructive Grand Canyon giveaway. The Trump administration, as a loyal servant of the mining industry, wants to roll the dice with the future of the Grand Canyon to benefit a few corporations. That’s the last thing we need, especially since hundreds of abandoned mines in Arizona already pollute our waters and pose a health risk for our children and families. Public lands are protected for the public, not set aside for mining companies to pollute whenever they see fit.”
“Visitors come from across the country and around the world to visit the Grand Canyon, often stopping in my district in Phoenix on their way to see this iconic southwestern landmark,” said Rep. Gallego. “Opening up the Grand Canyon watershed to new, destructive mining operations would therefore not only pollute the Colorado River and hurt local communities, it could also harm the Arizona tourism industry, which employs thousands of my constituents. Arizonans of both parties should come together to prevent the Trump administration from moving forward with this brazen assault on our state’s natural heritage.”
“The Grand Canyon is an iconic part of Arizona’s heritage that draws millions of visitors every year and deserves our protection,” said Congresswoman Sinema. “Tourism at the Grand Canyon brings thousands of Arizona jobs and hundreds of millions of dollars in economic activity. When the federal government considers land management, they should engage in a robust stakeholder process that allows for significant local and state input.”
“We encourage you to work with Congress to address the legacy of uranium, rather than open some of our most treasured public lands to this dangerous activity,” the Arizona legislators wrote in the letter. “Lifting Public Land Order Number 7787 will jeopardize the health of our Arizonans and our visitors, and it has the potential to cause irreparable damage to the Grand Canyon. We urge you to keep this important policy in place for the wellbeing of current and future Arizonans and Americans.”
Read the full letter here.