The federal government has banned new uranium mining projects in a one-million-acre region surrounding the Grand Canyon for the next 20 years. The law, spearheaded by the Obama administration and announced Monday by Interior Secretary Ken Salazar, was passed in an effort to protect the Colorado River and its tributaries from environmental damage. Dozens of active mines will be allowed to continue operation, but as many as 750 new claims will not be developed. Mining for uranium in the 1950s was responsible for widespread arsinic contamination and may still pollute the river.
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