07/20/2009 - Thousands of mining claims dot 1 million acres near the Grand Canyon, and Interior Secretary Ken Salazar says his department has a responsibility to ensure those resources are developed in a way that protects communities, treasured landscapes and watersheds.
The Interior Department announced Monday that it is barring the filing of new mining claims, including for uranium, on the acreage for two years. Meanwhile, his department will study whether the land should be permanently withdrawn from mining activity.
"Over the next two years, we will gather the best science and input from the public, members of Congress, tribes and stakeholders, and we will thoughtfully evaluate whether these lands should be withdrawn from new mining claims for a longer period of time," Salazar said in a statement.
"This decisive action to protect the Grand Canyon sends an important signal that President (Barack) Obama is committed to prioritizing the public interest when it comes to managing America's natural resources," said Jane Danowitz, U.S. public lands program director at the Pew Environment Group.
Read the full article Interior Halting Uranium Mining at Grand Canyon on The Washington Post's Web site.