WASHINGTON -- Rep. Raul Grijalva (AZ) re-introduced legislation with 16 co-sponsors Monday to permanently protect 1 million acres of land around the Grand Canyon from mining. This area has been federally protected since 2012 but that temporary protection expires in 2032 and companies continue to push for expanding uranium mining in the area. Rep. Grijalva’s bill, the Grand Canyon Protection Act, passed the House in 2019 before stalling in the Senate.
In 2018, Environment America Research & Policy Center released a report titled Grand Canyon at Risk: Uranium Mining Threatens a National Treasure. Uranium mining — which can spread radioactive dust through the air and leak toxic chemicals into the environment — is among the riskiest industrial activities in the world. In addition to many other devastating impacts, mining in this area has contaminated tributaries of the Colorado River, which supplies drinking water to 40 million Americans.
In response to the bill’s reintroduction, Environment America Public Lands Campaign Director Ellen Montgomery issued the following statement:
“We applaud Rep. Grijalva’s leadership in protecting this iconic symbol of the United States. Millions of Americans have taken pictures on the Grand Canyon’s rim, and those who haven’t can picture the majestic view and clean air. We don’t picture an ugly, dangerous mine or imagine inhaling radioactive dust. The last thing we need right outside one of our most visited and most breathtaking places is a uranium mine.
“The Grand Canyon hosts more than just a beautiful photo opportunity. It is also home to more than 400 species of birds and nearly 100 species of mammals, including bats, bighorn sheep and javelina. Radioactive waste is no better for them than it is for us. We need to make sure this wild area remains unspoiled. No type or amount of mineral is worth trashing this national treasure.”
Environment America is a national network of 29 state environmental groups. Our staff work together for clean air, clean water, clean energy, wildlife and open spaces, and a livable climate. Our members across the United States put grassroots support behind our research and advocacy. Environment America is part of The Public Interest Network, which runs organizations committed to a shared vision of a better world, a set of core values, and a strategic approach to getting things done.