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With uranium prices on the rise, mining companies and individuals alike have sought to obtain over 2,100 mining claims on 277 miles of public land along the Colorado River for uranium extraction. While the Bush administration practiced a policy of leniency for uranium mining in the Tusayan Ranger District of the Kaibab National Forest, Congressman Raul Grijalva (D-Ariz.) reintroduced legislation that will protect one million acres of public lands watersheds surrounding Grand Canyon National Park.
“Uranium mining poses one of the greatest risks to Grand Canyon National Park in decades,” said Roger Clark of the Grand Canyon Trust. “It threatens to contaminate park waters with radioactive waste, poses public-health problems for local residents and downstream communities dependent upon the Colorado River, and endangers the park’s unique ecosystems.”
The Los Angeles Water District, the Southern Nevada Water Authority, the Arizona Game and Fish Department, Coconino County and the Navajo, Hopi, Havasupai, Hualapai, and Kaibab Piute nations have all joined the chorus of those who oppose Grand Canyon uranium mining. Former Arizona governor and recently confirmed Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano also criticized the practice.
I’m going to go out on a limb and say this is a good thing. While a green, glowing Grand Canyon at night might be a sight to see, it’s probably not worth fighting off the giant, three-headed coyotes or radioactive mutant lizards you’ll encounter when you hike through it.