Let’s Not Mine Uranium in the Grand Canyon

<a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/rosengrant/2977674446/sizes/m/in/photostream/">B Rosen</a>/Flickr

The Bureau of Land Management issued a determination on Wednesday that turning the Grand Canyon into a giant uranium mine would be a bad idea.

Interior Secretary Ken Salazar said earlier this year that he thought there should be a 20-year moratorium on mining in the iconic canyon, so the decision isn’t really a surprise. The Final Environmental Impact Statement called for extending the moratorium on mining on the 1 million acres land under the management of the US Forest Service and BLM. Here’s what BLM had to say in a statement:

“The Grand Canyon is an iconic place for all Americans and visitors from around the world,” said BLM Director Bob Abbey. “Uranium remains an important part of our nation’s comprehensive energy resources, but it is appropriate to pause, identify what the predicted level of mining and its impacts on the Grand Canyon would be, and decide what level of risk is acceptable to take with this national treasure. The preferred alternative would allow for cautious, continued development with strong oversight that could help us fill critical gaps in our knowledge about water quality and environmental impacts of uranium mining in the area.”

But it’s sure to annoy the Republicans in the House and Senate who have been gunning to open it up. For now they’ll have to wait. At least until the Perry/Bachmann administration reverses the decision in a few years.


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  • Kate Sheppard was a staff reporter in Mother Jones' Washington bureau from 2009 to 2013. She is now a senior reporter and the energy and environment editor at The Huffington Post. She can be reached by email at kate (dot) sheppard (at) huffingtonpost (dot) com and you can follow her on Twitter @kate_sheppard.