Settlement Saves Grand Canyon from Uranium Drilling
September 29, 2008
On September 25, Sierra Club, the Center for Biological Diversity and the Grand Canyon Trust achieved a major victory in settling a challenge to the Forest Service’s plan to allow uranium mining in the Kaibab National Forest. Just a few miles from Grand Canyon National Park, this mining would have destroyed the pristine environment surrounding the Park and threatened to contaminate the Colorado River, the source of drinking water for tens of millions of Americans. The settlement requires the Forest Service and the VANE Mineral mining firm to withdraw all current applications and approvals for exploratory drilling in the forest. It then requires the Forest Service and mining companies to prepare an environmental impact statement under the National Environmental Policy Act as part of any future permit applications. Finally, it is unlikely that any mining will be allowed thanks to a resolution passed by the House Natural Resources Committee in June which protects these and other areas of public lands around the Grand Canyon National Park from future uranium development. Our thanks to attorneys Marc Fink for the Center for Biological Diversity and Neil Levine for the Grand Canyon Trust, and our community activists including Sandy Bahr, Sierra Club’s Arizona Chapter Chair, for this major step toward protecting the Grand Canyon, the Colorado River and the surrounding communities.
March 12, 2008
The resurgence of uranium mining in the southwestern United States poses a dangerous threat to both communities and treasured wild places. On March 12, 2008 the Sierra Club, along with the Center for Biological Diversity and the Grand Canyon Trust, filed a federal lawsuit challenging the Forest Service’s decision to issue 39 permits for uranium mining within a few miles of Grand Canyon National Park. Acting in clear violation of the National Environmental Policy Act, the Administrative Procedures Act, and the Appeals Reform Act, the Forest Service used the least rigorous analysis available to them in issuing the approval for these permits. The agency's analysis failed to consider the controversy attending uranium development, the significance of its proximity to the Grand Canyon, and the overall cumulative impacts of four other future uranium exploration projects and the potential opening of Denison Corporation’s Canyon Mine - all located in the same region. In addition to conservation groups, local communities who have long suffered the devastating health effects of past uranium mining have also joined in opposition. The Coconino County, Ariz., board of supervisors voted unanimously to try stopping uranium operations and the Navajo Nation and the Hopi and Havasupai tribes also have voted to ban uranium mining on their land.
Details and Documents:
Settlement blocks uranium project near Grand Canyon
September 26, 2009 by Eric Bontrager, E&E News
Grijalva wants to block uranium mining at Grand Canyon
March 17, 2008, Arizona Capitol Times
Time for a Mining Law Update
March 14, 2008, Los Angeles Times
Environmentalists sue over uranium exploration near Grand Canyon
March 13, 2008 by Dennis Wagner, Arizona Republic
Lawsuit Seeks to Block Uranium Mining at Grand Canyon
March 13, 2008, Environmental News Service
See other "Promoting Resilient Habitats" cases.