On Monday, the federal government extended a moratorium on new uranium mining claims in a one-million-acre area around the Grand Canyon. Regulators established the extension, set to last six months, to allow the government more time to review ongoing studies of potential environmental harm to the region. Specifically, Interior Secretary Ken Salazar raised concerns that uranium deposits around Grand Canyon National Park could affect water quality and tourism. "When you think about the millions of jobs that are created across America through our natural wonders, as well as through other aspects of our heritage [and] tourism, that ought to be what carries the day," he said. Local and state officials, and environmental activists, have demanded a 20-year moratorium, which Salazar favors in the event of more scientific information. The new extension comes as a two-year moratorium instituted in 2009 was set to expire.
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