O'Halleran Requests DOI Documentation on Grand Canyon Uranium Mining

July 2, 2018
Press Release

WAHSINGTON - Today, 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) requesting official documentation from Secretary Ryan Zinke about the Department of the Interior's plan to support the Grand Canyon Mineral Withdrawal Order. This request for official documentation follows news reports that Secretary Zinke has 'no intention' of revisiting the mining ban in the Grand Canyon area.

In the letter, the lawmakers wrote, "Uranium mining and processing in northern Arizona have left a grim and costly legacy of pollution and human health consequences. There are currently over 500 abandoned uranium mines on the Navajo Nation, which have yet to be addressed. These mines have resulted in cancer and disease for many Arizonans. Spending on the cleanup of these mines has already totaled more than $1 billion and estimates suggest that a complete cleanup will require billions more to be spent.

"Considering the importance of this issue to Arizonans, we request a formal, official response affirming and clarifying that you will indeed continue to support the Grand Canyon Mineral Withdrawal Order as an important step to protect one of America’s greatest national treasures. As you have stated, “some areas are too precious to mine.” The Grand Canyon is unquestionably one of those areas."

At the end of 2017, O'Halleran led this group of legislators in a letter 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.

Read the full letter to Secretary Zinke here.