WASHINGTON, DC - Today Secretary Ken Salazar will announce that the Department of the Interior will temporarily ban uranium mining claims on one million acres of land surrounding the Grand Canyon. This order will protect highly trafficked public lands from dangerous development while Congress and the Obama Administration seek permanent reform to mining law. League of Conservation Voters Legislative Representative Hasan Nazar issued the following statement:
“Secretary Salazar’s decision to suspend further uranium mining development in the areas surrounding the Grand Canyon addresses urgent issues of public health and preservation of America’s most spectacular natural treasure. That the government has continued to issue potentially hazardous uranium mining claims until now is symptomatic of the outdated laws that govern mining in the West.
“This two year moratorium provides a window to seek long-lasting common sense reform of our nation’s archaic mining laws. Both houses of Congress have introduced legislation that will institute reasonable environmental safeguards for mining operations while shifting the burden of mine cleanup from the taxpayer to the corporate polluters who endanger our lifestyle and resources.
“LCV applauds Secretary Salazar and the Obama Administration for their action on this issue, and we urge both the White House and Congress to move to update the current law in a manner that represents the needs of a 21st century America, not a 19th century one.”
# # #