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Premier eFinance: Twenty year uranium mining ban for Grand Canyon.
The Obama administration has announced that it intends to place a 20-year ban on mining on 1 million acres of land surrounding the Grand Canyon.
By: Premier eFinance
The ban would strengthen a current moratorium on new mining claims and activity, which the government set in place on Grand Canyon border lands two years ago in response to the sharp increase in uranium mine claims. Interior Department officials said the agency initially would extend the current moratorium another six months, until the end of the year, in order to complete the steps necessary to establish the 20-year ban.
The ban will not affect mines currently in operation in the area.
Environmentalists, some lawmakers and water utilities serving metropolitan areas in the southwest, including Los Angeles, praised the decision saying it would helps protect the critical Colorado River watershed from possible contamination from uranium mining and would prevent the Grand Canyon panorama from being progressively industrialized.
"This a big important step because we know there are rich claims out here that that mining industry would have gone after quickly," Roger Clark, air and energy program director for the Grand Canyon Trust, told Premier eFinance. "Mining would have affected the watershed, disturbed critical wildlife habitat, industrialized the perimeter of the Grand Canyon. It's kind of like locating a meatpacking house next to the Vatican: it's an incompatible use of the land."
Uranium miners argue that removing such a vast section of land from the industry is likely to cost jobs and slow economic growth.
The decision "is scientifically unsupportable and sets a troublesome precedent as we struggle to create jobs and meet more of our future energy needs with domestic fuels," Carol Raulston, a spokeswoman for the National Mining Assn., told reporters.
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