CREDO Action

Tell Congress: Permanently protect the Grand Canyon from uranium mining

Sign the petition

The petition to Congress reads:

"Pass the Grand Canyon Centennial Protection Act to permanently protect the Grand Canyon and nearby areas from uranium and other mining activities."

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    Tell Congress: Permanently protect the Grand Canyon from uranium mining

    The Grand Canyon, one of our nation's most iconic national parks, turned 100 years old this year, yet mining special interests – with the help of the Trump administration – are clamoring to start exploiting its natural resources for profit and pollute the environment with radioactive material.

    Although the Obama administration issued a 20-year moratorium on mining at the Grand Canyon because of the danger it posed to wildlife, water and sacred Native sites, the uranium mining industry sees an opportunity with a new administration to overturn the ban and restart mining in one of our nation's most precious and fragile areas.

    But we can stop them. New legislation recently introduced by progressive champion Rep. Raul Grijalva would permanently protect the Grand Canyon and the areas around it from uranium mining and other destructive extractive activity.1 We must build massive public support to ensure Congress passes this incredibly important legislation immediately.

    Tell Congress: Permanently protect the Grand Canyon from uranium mining.

    For more than 50 years, the mining industry has extracted millions of tons of uranium ore from the Grand Canyon area and left behind toxic pollution that continues to threaten plants, animals, scarce groundwater supplies and sacred tribal sites.2 Unbelievably, for the last 20 years, tourists who visited Grand Canyon National Park may have been unknowingly exposed to dangerous levels of radiation caused by improperly stored uranium.3

    Eager to restart mining in the area, the uranium mining industry - with the support of Western state Republicans in Congress who are intent on handing over public lands to Big Oil and other extractive companies - challenged the Obama administration's moratorium in a protracted legal battle, but ultimately lost late last year.4 This was a huge victory for Native leaders, environmentalists and public lands advocates, but the fight is far from over: The Trump administration could now easily rescind the ban via executive order.5

    That's why Rep. Grijalva's bill is so important. The Grand Canyon Centennial Protection Act would permanently protect approximately 1 million acres in and around the Grand Canyon from extractive mining activities and has broad support from a coalition of environmental and conservation groups, elected officials and Native leaders from the Havasupai and Hopi tribes and the Navajo Nation.6

    As Clark Tenakhongva, vice chairman of the Hopi Tribe, put it, "The legacy of uranium mining has devastated the people and the land, and continues to destroy the land and lives of Hopisinom, Native Americans, and Americans alike."7 We must demand that Congress protect the Grand Canyon area from mining activities permanently.

    Thanks for all you do.

    References

    1. Kathleen B. Kunz, "Rep. Grijalva Wants a Permanent Moratorium on Mining Near the Grand Canyon," Tucson Weekly, Feb. 25, 2019.
    2. Grand Canyon Trust, "Uranium Mining," accessed March 8, 2019.
    3. Dennis Wagner, "Grand Canyon tourists exposed for years to radiation in museum building, safety manager says," Arizona Republic, Feb. 18, 2019.
    4. Amber Reimondo, "A Huge Legal Victory, But We’re Not Done Yet," Grand Canyon Trust, Oct. 3, 2018.
    5. Joanna Walters, "Grand Canyon uranium mining ban upheld as supreme court declines to hear challenge," The Guardian, Oct. 1, 2018.
    6. House Committee on Natural Resources, "Chair Grijalva Formally Introduces Bill to Protect Grand Canyon Area From New Mining Claims – Effort Enjoys Extraordinary Grassroots, Tribal Support," Feb. 26, 2019.
    7. Ibid.