Environmentalists Call For Trump Administration To Keep Mining Ban In Place

Published: Wednesday, June 6, 2018 - 5:08pm
Updated: Thursday, June 7, 2018 - 9:36am
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Laurel Morales/KJZZ
In 2016, mine-shaft drilling pierced shallow aquifers, causing water pumped from the Canyon Mine to spike.

At a time when many families are hitting the road to visit national parks, a report that came out Wednesday calls on the Trump administration to drop any plans that would allow uranium mining outside Grand Canyon National Park.

Last year President Donald Trump issued an executive order calling on federal agencies to explore options for increasing energy production. The Department of Agriculture recommended reopening land adjacent to the national park to new mining. That would end the Obama Administration's 20-year ban on new mining claims on a million acres of land.

Steve Blackledge is the conservation program director for Environment America Research & Policy Center, which issued the report.

"Uranium mining has always been one of the riskiest industrial activities in the world," Blackledge said. "Uranium gets into the environment in many ways from the mining itself to the tailings that sit in the area. And so many people, 40 million Americans, get their drinking water from the Colorado River. It would be folly to expand uranium mining and threaten that."

The report points to a study by the U.S. Geological Survey that found 15 springs and five wells near Grand Canyon contain uranium concentrations above the safe limit for drinking water.

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