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June 19th, 2008
Grijalva Calls for Emergency Declaration: Defends the Grand Canyon



Grijalva Calls for Emergency Declaration

Defends the Grand Canyon

Washington, DC—Today, Representative Raúl M. Grijalva, Chairman of the Natural Resources Subcommittee on National Parks, Forests and Public Lands, called for an emergency declaration to withdraw public lands adjacent to the Grand Canyon National Park from uranium mining activities.

Chairman Grijalva submitted a resolution to the Natural Resources Committee pursuant to the Federal Land Policy and Management Act of 1976(FLPMA) (public Law 94-579;43 U.S.C. 1701-1782. Under act 43 U.S.C.1714 (e), or generally referred to as section 204(e).  FLPMA allows for emergency withdrawals when “extraordinary measures must be taken to preserve values that would otherwise be lost.”

“I feel compelled to submit this request for emergency action due to the immediate and grave threat to the Grand Canyon National Park, the crowned jewel of our national park system,” stated Chairman Grijalva. “The Colorado River and its tributaries carved this natural cathedral known as the Grand Canyon, and its waters now support one of the largest desert civilizations in world history, including Tucson, Phoenix, Las Vegas, Los Angeles and San Diego.” 

Chairman Grijalva’s request mirrors previous efforts by the former committee Chairman, and Arizona Congressman, Morris K. Udall to protect our precious public land.

There are examples of past administrative compliance with those emergency withdrawal declarations.  In 1981, the Secretary issued Public Land Order No. 5952, withdrawing 1.5 million acres of National Forest lands in the Bob Marshall, Scapegoat, and Great Bear Wilderness Areas from mineral leasing. The emergency declaration was also used on August 3, 1983; the Secretary was directed to temporarily withdraw from Fort Union certain tracts of lands from coal leasing.

“We cannot wait while uranium mining claims continue to be filed and the Bush Administration continues to use the exclusionary clause to allow uranium mining exploration and eventual mining operations within public lands in close proximity to the Grand Canyon National Park.”

Under this emergency clause, when the Secretary determines that an emergency exists or when either of the two congressional committees specified in section 204(e) of the act (43 U.S.C. 1714(e)) notifies the Secretary that an emergency exists, the Secretary shall immediately make a withdrawal which shall be limited in scope and duration to the emergency. (43 CFR ‘2310.5(a)).

The resolution authorizes and directs House Natural Resources Chairman Rahall to notify the Secretary of the Interior and the Secretary of Agriculture, on its behalf, that the Committee finds that an emergency situation exists regarding uranium mining near Grand Canyon National Park and pursuant to section 204(e) of the Federal Land Policy and Management Act of 1976 (43 U.S.C. 1714(e)) and 43 CFR 2310.5, the Secretary of the Interior shall, subject to valid existing rights, immediately withdraw the approximately 1,068,908 acres of Federal land generally depicted on the map entitled, “Grand Canyon Watersheds Protection Act of 2008,” dated May 28, 2008, and accompanying this Resolution from all forms of location and entry under the United States mining laws (30 U.S.C. 22 et seq.) for a period not to exceed three years.


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