FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
July 20, 2009
Contact: Kristina Johnson
Today, Interior Secretary Ken Salazar announced that the agency will temporarily place 1 million acres of public lands surrounding the Grand Canyon off limits to new uranium mining claims, as well as exploration and development of existing, unpatented claims.
Representative Raśl Grijalva (D-Ariz.), has also introduced a bill, the Grand Canyon Watersheds Protection Act of 2009, which would offer permanent protection by banning exploration and new claims on roughly 1 million acres of public land bordering the Grand Canyon.
We are pleased to see Secretary Salazar offer protection from uranium mining on the lands surrounding one of our most iconic national treasures, the Grand Canyon.
Uranium mining threatens to damage wildlife habitat, industrialize public lands, and contaminate the water that feeds regional wells, springs, and the Colorado River, which provides drinking water for millions of people. Sierra Club will continue to support our tribal partners, including the Havasupai Tribe, in protecting important sacred lands near the Grand Canyon.
Our major water supplies and iconic national treasures are no place for destructive, potentially hazardous uranium mining. The next step is to permanently protect these important lands and waterways by passing legislation to ban future uranium claims and exploration.