Jane Danowitz, U.S. public lands program director at the Pew Environment Group, today issued the following statement on a decision by the U.S. Department of Interior's Bureau of Land Management to authorize eight uranium mine exploration operations adjacent to the Grand Canyon National Park. Mining on public land surrounding the park is permitted under the nation's 1872 mining law, which allows the mining industry access to more than 350 million acres of public lands across the West. Last June, in response to vast increases in claims-staking near the Grand Canyon, the House Natural Resources Committee called for 1 million acres of public lands to be withdrawn from new mining claims.
“We are surprised and disappointed by the prospect of uranium mining within a stone's throw of the Grand Canyon. We urge the Obama administration to move quickly to remedy this situation and protect this timeless treasure for future generations to enjoy.
“Current federal policy that allows the mining industry to operate next to America's national icons and against the will of local communities must be changed. This situation should serve as a wakeup call: it's time to modernize the nation's 1872 mining law.”
The Pew Environment Group is the conservation arm of The Pew Charitable Trusts, a non-governmental organization that applies a rigorous, analytical approach to improving public policy, informing the public and stimulating civic life.
For more information on 1872 mining law reform, visit the Pew Campaign for Responsible Mining website: http://www.pewminingreform.org