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Feds hold Flagstaff hearing on uranium mining at Grand Canyon

U-S Congressman Raul Grijalva of Tucson and crowd of Uranium mining hearing.
U-S Congressman Raul Grijalva of Tucson and crowd of Uranium mining hearing.

By Theresa Bierer

March 28, 2008 – INTRO) Earlier this week, Governor Janet Napolitano requested the Bush administration use its executive power and withdraw areas near the grand canyon from mining. Meanwhile, a Tucson Congressman has introduced legislation with the same aim. Arizona Public Radio's Theresa Bierer has more.

Today's uranium mining hearing brought a crowd bigger than Flagstaff's city council chambers.
U-S Congressman Raul Grijalva of Tucson is part of the House Natural Resources committee. He's responsible for the Grand CanyonsWatersheds Protection Act of 2008 or H-R 55-83 which would keep one million acres near the canyon free from mining.

the hearing today is also to explore the history of uranium mining and the potential of both health and environmental that uranium mining can do in and around the grand canyon. That's the intent of the legislation

Three months ago the forest service gave a British firm approval for exploratory uranium drilling near the canyon's south rim an activity supported by the Mining Law of 1872. There are nearly 3000 claims within a 5 mile radius of the national park. While a large number of people attending today's hearing wore stickers to Stop Mining at the grand canyon . Dave Moser of Tucson has claims of his own at the canyon and attended the VO) Today's field hearing on uranium mining at the grand canyon hearing for another reason.

To support the fact that we need to be self sufficient in this country and uranium is one of the main ways we can be self sufficient. The retro pipe area around the grand canyon is probably the cleanest mining cleanest source of energy that we have in this country

The Sierra Club's Sandy Barr disagrees

we think clean energy is clean renewable energy like solar and wind. These are the energies that you don't have a legacy of contamination associated with them.

If the Grand Canyon Watersheds Protection Act is passed and the president signs it into law, it would not prevent current mining claims but it would stop new mining claims on the one million acres around grand canyon national park.

In Flagstaff, for Arizona Public Radio, I'm Theresa Bierer.