Judge Upholds Ban on Grand Canyon Mining

Mining consortium foiled again

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The Grand Canyon is safe once again after a federal judge rejected an effort to overturn the Obama administration’s moratorium on new mining claims around the national park. The ban, enacted in January of 2012, currently protects the 1 million acres of land that comprise the canyon’s watershed.

Last year, members of the uranium mining industry, including the National Mining Association, the Nuclear Energy Institute, and the Northwest Mining Association, joined forces to attempt to overturn the ban, claiming that it was unconstitutional for the Interior Department to withdraw parcels of land larger than 5,000 acres from use. The motion was denied last week by U.S. District Judge David Campbell.

“It’s a great day for the Grand Canyon, and for rivers, wildlife, and communities across the West,” said Ted Zukoski of Earthjustice. “The uranium industry was hoping to cripple the Interior Department’s ability to temporarily protect lands from destructive mining. Today’s opinion upholds the Interior Department’s authority to take such protective measures.”

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