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Indigenous opposition to uranium mining in Grand Canyon

Grand Canyon Uranium Mining Ban Defended By Havasupai Tribe, Conservation Coalition ENews Park Forest, , 13 MARCH 2012  Denver, CO  Arizona’s Havasupai Tribe joined conservation groups joined in filing legal papers  on Monday to defend the U.S. Department of the Interior’s 20-year ban on new uranium mining claims across 1 million acres of public lands adjacent to the Grand Canyon. Uranium pollution already plagues the Grand Canyon and surrounding area. Proposals for new mining have prompted protests, litigation and proposed legislation. (Neil Jacklin)

The Havasupai Tribe, Grand Canyon Trust, Center for Biological Diversity, Sierra Club, and National Parks Conservation Association filed a motion to intervene in a lawsuit filed last November by uranium prospector Gregory Yount in the U.S district court in Arizona. The Tribe and groups seek to defend Interior’s decision to protect the Grand Canyon’s springs and creeks, wildlife and vistas from new uranium mining pollution. The groups and Tribe are represented by public interest law firms Earthjustice and Western Mining Action Project.

“The Havasupai Tribal Council and the Havasupai People strongly support the Department of the Interior’s January 2012 decision to withdraw one million acres of public lands from new mining claims,” said Matthew Putesoy, Sr., Havasupai Tribal Vice-Chairman. “The Havasupai Tribe has long opposed mining on our aboriginal lands because of the threat uranium mining poses to our traditional uses, practices, sacred places, and to the plants, wildlife, air, and water.”…


“The Grand Canyon is an icon across the globe, a biodiversity hotspot and the economic engine for a whole region,” said Taylor McKinnon, public lands campaigns director at the Center for Biological Diversity. “Interior’s decision to protect it from toxic uranium-mining pollution was undeniably the right one, and we’ll vigorously defend it.”

Uranium pollution already plagues the Grand Canyon and surrounding area. Proposals for new mining have prompted protests, litigation and proposed legislation. Because dozens of new mines threaten to industrialize iconic and sacred natural areas, destroy wildlife habitat and pollute or deplete aquifers, scientists, tribal and local governments, and businesses have all voiced support for the new protections enacted by Interior…..


Water utilities in Arizona, California and Nevada have expressed serious concerns about possible contamination of the Colorado River if uranium mining is permitted around the Grand Canyon and the potential devastating effect it could have on the 25 million people in their states that rely on water from the Colorado River for drinking and agriculture.

“Uranium mining imposes well-documented and unacceptable risks to the people and natural resources of our region,” said Grand Canyon Trust program director Roger Clark. “The lawsuit demonstrates how little industry cares about strong opposition expressed by community, tribal, and business interests and the many negative consequences that thorough impact studies show are associated with rampant industrialization of Grand Canyon’s watersheds.”

Read the Intervention Memo.  Source:


March 14, 2012 - Posted by | indigenous issues, USA

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