Grand Canyon Chapter
514 W. Roosevelt St. ● Phoenix, AZ 85003
Phone: (602) 253-8633
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
Tuesday, July 21, 2020
Amber Reimondo, Grand Canyon Trust, firstname.lastname@example.org, 928-286-3361
Sandy Bahr, Sierra Club, email@example.com, 602- 999-5790
Conservation Groups Welcome House Passage of Grand Canyon Centennial Protection Act
The House today passed the Grand Canyon Centennial Protect Act as part of the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA). The Grand Canyon Centennial Protection Act makes permanent a ban on new uranium mining on about 1 million acres of public land adjacent to, and hydrologically and ecologically connected to, the Grand Canyon.
The bill has been championed by Tribal members and leaders -- particularly the Havasupai Tribe, with the support of the Hopi Tribe the Navajo Nation, as well as the National Congress of American Indians and the Intertribal Council of Arizona. A broad coalition of business owners, local government leaders, conservation groups, and others who oppose uranium mining in the Grand Canyon region have also voiced support for the measure.
There are hundreds of active mining claims in the area and the uranium industry has lobbied for increased access and government bailout funds to prop up its lagging prospects, despite the ongoing public health threats from past uranium mining.
In response conservation groups issued the following statements:
“A hundred years after the formation of Grand Canyon National Park, we’re living under an administration hell-bent on drilling, mining, extracting, and polluting everything it can touch. That’s why we’re grateful for Chairman Grijalva and his colleagues’ efforts to halt dangerous new mining projects near the Grand Canyon and clean up the contamination already poisoning families in the Southwest. This language would ensure that the lands and drinking water near the Grand Canyon stay safe from toxic uranium mining operations, which have already left their scars on the health and wellbeing of the region, especially Native American communities. Earthjustice urges both chambers of Congress to protect the Grand Canyon from mining.” said Martin Hayden, vice president of policy and legislation at Earthjustice.
“The COVID-19 pandemic has made protecting public health and sustainable drivers of local economies more important than ever and uranium mining near the Grand Canyon is at clear odds with both,” said Amber Reimondo, energy program director for the Grand Canyon Trust, “a permanent mining ban is essential and we’re grateful to see this measure moving forward.
“The Grand Canyon Centennial Protection Act is key to preventing more toxic pollution from harming communities. The people who have long borne the brunt of uranium contamination, Tribal communities in particular, are now also on the frontlines of the COVID-19 pandemic. It's more important than ever for Congress to take swift action to protect the water supplies and health of the people who live and work in our region," said Sandy Bahr, chapter director for Sierra Club’s Grand Canyon Chapter.
“The Grand Canyon is a treasured landscape that Arizonans value and respect. Protecting the integrity of Grand Canyon and the health of neighboring communities from uranium mining has enormous support in Arizona and across the country. We are pleased to see forward progress." said Mike Quigley, Arizona state director for the Wilderness Society.
“As one of the seven natural wonders of the world, Grand Canyon deserves permanent protection,” said Matthew Nelson, executive director of the Arizona Trail Association. “The potential rewards of uranium extraction do not outweigh the risks to land, water, human health, and the legacy of the Grand Canyon region. These resources are worth protecting so future generations will have access to breathtaking landscapes and a sustainable economy supported by our parks, forests and trails.”