The Obama administration has officially banned any new uranium mines in the land adjacent to the Grand Canyon for the next 20 years. During the Bush presidency, mining companies filed thousands of new land claims in northern Arizona near the national park. In 2009, Secretary Salazar ordered a temporary ban on any new claims, but now those lands are safe for at least 20 years.
The ban protects one million acres of land surrounding the Grand Canyon from new mining claims, but the 3,200 existing mines will not be affected and 11 new mines already under construction will be allowed to continue to develop.
Although this ban seems like a no-brainer, there was a decent amount of opposition since the price for uranium is high and the area is rich in uranium deposits. This ban doesn't just protect the beauty of the place, but more importantly the health of the ecosystems and millions of people who live within the Colorado River Basin. At least one creek in the park has been found to be contaminated by uranium and high levels of arsenic have been found in the area from old mining operations.
via The Guardian
Image via Luca Galuzzi
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