Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Congress steps into uranium mine fracas

Companies looking to stake mining claims in more than 1 million acres of land surrounding the Grand Canyon may have a second chance. Congressman Jeff Flake, R-Mesa, announced a rider to the 2012 Interior and Environment Appropriations Bill in the U.S. House of Representatives Thursday that would prevent the Department of the Interior from withdrawing the land from all new mining claims for the next 20 years without approval from Congress. The rider would also nullify U.S. Interior Secretary Ken Salazar's order to extend a current ban on new mining claims in the area for another six months. The Department of the Interior started studying the possibility of removing the land, which includes a significant portion of Mohave County north of the Grand Canyon, from new mining claims in 2009. At that time, Salazar ordered a two-year moratorium on all new mining claims. He extended the moratorium during a press conference held at the Grand Canyon two weeks ago. He also announced that the department's preferred option is to remove the land from all mining activity for the next 20 years...more

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