9 January 2012
Washington, DC-- Earlier this year, the ACA put in calls to senators and representatives to oppose proposed uranium mining around the Grand Canyon. On Monday, January 9th, Secretary Salazar formally signed a 20-year moratorium, the longest allowed by law, on new uranium and other hard rock mining claims on a million acres of federal land around the Grand Canyon.
Salazar said it was a "serious and necessary step" to preserving the canyon, an American natural icon, and the river that runs through it. Secretary Salazar’s decision will provide time for monitoring to inform future land use decisions in this valued ecological and recreational gem of the American landscape. Mining operations that are currently approved, as well as new operations on valid existing mining claims, will be allowed to continue.
"A withdrawal is the right approach for this priceless American landscape,” Salazar said. "People from all over the country and around the world come to visit the Grand Canyon. Numerous American Indian tribes regard this magnificent icon as a sacred place and millions of people in the Colorado River Basin depend on the river for drinking water, irrigation, industrial and environmental use. We have been entrusted to care for and protect our precious environmental and cultural resources, and we have chosen a responsible path that makes sense for this and future generations.”
The culmination of more than two years of work between various federal agencies and partners, the ACA is proud of Sec. Salazar's announcement and continued protection of the Grand Canyon and its watershed. "The Grand Canyon is one of America's most precious natural landscapes," said Cate Huxtable, ACA Stewardship Coordinator. "The ACA is happy to see that value is reflected in the decisions of the current administration and hopes to see the Grand Canyon protected for generations of paddlers, stewards, and visitors of the Canyon to come."