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STOP Uranium Drilling at the Grand Canyon

The Obama administration is currently considering halting environmental degradation around the Grand Canyon and you can support these actions RIGHT NOW!

Grand Canyon, Stop Drilling

The Bush administration approved drilling for uranium at 39 sites near the Grand Canyon’s south rim in 2008.  This decision led to a rush in claims for mining the radioactive mineral near this iconic park.  The House reacted to these developments in June 2008.  At that time the House Natural Resources Committee ordered 1 million acres of Bureau of Land Management and Forest Service national park land to be withdrawn from new uranium mining claims.

The granting of these permits rested on a 19th century law.  The 1872 Mining Law allows gold, uranium and other hard rock metals to be taken from most western public lands almost for free and with few restrictions or cleanup requirements.  This law, enacted by President Ulysses S. Grant, was originally meant to help single miners with pack mules.  Now, huge mining corporations are abusing this law to establish large scale mining structures right next to national monuments.

The final straw occurred this year, after the Bureau of Land Management authorized Quaterra Alaska Inc. to conduct eight uranium mine exploration operations at five separate projects north of Grand Canyon National Park and west of the Kaibab Plateau.  This was in clear violation of the House Committee's order and only added one more permit for the 1,100 uranium mining claims within five miles of the Grand Canyon National Park.  To view the documents (provided by the Center for Biological Diversity and the Grand Canyon Trust) please click here.

Secretary Ken Salazar of the Interior Department barred all filing of claims on the acreage around the Grand Canyon National Park this past July for two years.  The two year moratorium will allow the Interior Department to study whether the land should be permanently withdrawn from mining activity.  The authority for the moratorium rests upon General Mining Act of 1872, which does not allow for the negation of certain mining contracts because of the environmental impact.  The only recourse for previously authorized permits is the buying of the permits through federal monies.  This was done in 1996 when the federal government paid $65 million to buy out patented claims just three miles from Yellowstone National Park

Care2 has created an online petition that allows you to create an e-mail addressed to Secretary Salazar telling him to protect our parks and forests on a permanent basis by working with Congress to modernize the 1872 Mining Law.  Please show your support for Secretary Salazar and your commitment to stopping mining around our national landmarks by clicking here.