The Obama administration is releasing a draft plan that would protect much of the Grand Canyon from uranium mining. PHOTO BY LEIGH WADDEN.
Interior Department proposes withdrawal of lands near Grand Canyon, puts 1872 mining law on the chopping block and suggests an annual $200 million reclamation fee
By Bob Berwyn
SUMMIT COUNTY — President Obama’s Interior Department, under the leadership of Coloradan Ken Salazar, is seeking fundamental reform of outdated hardrock mining regulations that have resulted in some of the most long-lasting environmental impacts in the West.
Acid mine drainage has polluted thousands of stream miles around the region, killing fish and requiring costly cleanups.
Along with moving to block uranium mining in watersheds near the Grand Canyon, Salazar in the past few days has proposed to removed hardrock mining from the jurisdiction of the antiquated 1872 mining law and put it under control of the Mineral Leasing Act, which enables the federal government to charge a royalty on oil and gas production on public lands. Click here to get all the info and links for the Grand Canyon draft plan.
It also gives land managers more discretion over where extraction can occur and not occur via lease sales. Placing mining under the Mineral Leasing Act would give land managers like those who administer the forests around the Grand Canyon the same authority over mines.
“The Grand Canyon is our most iconic national treasure, and it’s critical that the Canyon and important ecological areas around it be protected from uranium mining,” said Lauren Pagel, policy director for EARTHWORKS, an international mining reform group. “There are many other special places and Western waterways that need protection from the devastation of uranium mining, but the Grand Canyon is a no-brainer,” she said. (more…)
Filed under: BLM, Colorado, Environment, national parks, public lands | Tagged: 1872 mining law, Bureau of Land management, Environment, General Mining Act of 1872, Grand Canyon National Park, Grand Canyon uranium mining, hardrock mining, National Environmental Policy Act, Salazar hardrock mining reform, Summit County News, United States Department of the Interior | 5 Comments »