Grand Canyon National Park, Ariz. – Rep. Raúl M. Grijalva today cheered Interior Secretary Ken Salazar’s announcement that he will recommend the withdrawal of one million acres of public land near the Grand Canyon from mining activity for the next 20 years. Grijalva, the ranking member of the House Subcommittee on National Parks, Forests and Public Land, has been a leading advocate of the withdrawal option and has introduced bills every Congress since 2008 permanently to withdraw the land from hardrock mining.
The area in question has been under a two-year moratorium while Salazar and Interior Department officials considered longer-term options. Grijalva wrote a letter to Salazar May 4 urging him to withdraw the full one million acres under consideration from mining activity as soon as possible. The letter is available at http://grijalva.house.gov/oversight.
The Interior Department will formally release an environmental impact statement on the area within the next six months laying out Salazar’s recommendation.
“I couldn’t be happier with this announcement, and I thank Secretary Salazar for making a far-sighted recommendation today,” said Grijalva, who was present at today’s announcement at the Grand Canyon. “The Grand Canyon is one of the most recognizable and spectacular natural wonders in the entire world. This is the right decision for today, for tomorrow and for the future of our country.”
Grijalva pointed out that the withdrawal would protect billions of dollars and thousands of jobs in tourism and related fields throughout the Southwest region, and would protect the Colorado River from potential degradation.
“This withdrawal would protect the economy, the environment and the crown jewel of our national parks system for decades to come, and I wholeheartedly support Secretary Salazar’s decision today,” Grijalva said.