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March 17th, 2008
Grijalva Introduces Legislation to Prohibit Uranium Mining Near Grand Canyon

Washington, D.C. This week, Congressman Raúl M. Grijalva introduced legislation to withdraw approximately one million acres near the Grand Canyon from mineral exploration under the 1872 Mining Act.  The Grand Canyon Watersheds Protection Act of 2008 (H.R. 5583) has been referred to the Committee on Natural Resources on which Congressman Grijalva serves.

Recently, information has surfaced regarding exploratory drilling for uranium within a few miles of the Grand Canyon National Park’s South Rim, a popular tourist attraction and protected area.  The drilling is taking place on the Kaibab National Forest under what are known as categorical exclusions from the National Environmental Policy Act with very little environmental review and without public comment or involvement.

“I was pleased to introduce this legislation which will forever protect the magnificence of the Grand Canyon and the people who live near and in the Canyon from damaging uranium mining,” said Rep. Grijalva.  “The federal government and mining companies still have not adequately dealt with the clean up of old uranium mine sites on the Navajo Nation and other areas that are causing ongoing health problems. Until these issues are resolved, we should not move forward with new mines, especially next to the crown jewel of our National Park System.”

Earlier this week, Governor Janet Napolitano of Arizona also formally requested that the Bush administration use its executive powers to withdraw areas in the vicinity of the Grand Canyon from mining.

Rep. Grijalva’s bill would withdraw from mining 628,886 acres in the Kanab Creek area and 112,655 in House Rock Valley managed by Bureau of Land Management, as well as 327,367 acres in the Tusayan Ranger District of the Kaibab National Forest south of the Canyon.

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