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ADEQ Developing New Air Permits for Uranium Mines Near Grand Canyon

Mark Henle/The Arizona Republic

The Arizona Department of Environmental Quality is developing new air pollution permits for three uranium mines near the Grand Canyon. The agency halted the permit renewals last year after elevated levels of uranium were detected near one of the mines. Arizona Public Radio’s Ryan Heinsius reports. 

ADEQ says the new air permits for the Arizona 1, EZ and Canyon mines will be more environmentally protective. They’ll include increased radiation and soil sampling requirements, as well as enhanced dust-control measures. 

Tests from last July and October found elevated uranium in soil at the Pinenut Mine near the North Rim of the Grand Canyon. ADEQ said the levels didn’t present a health risk, and they’ve since returned to normal.

Energy Fuels Resources owns all four sites, but isn’t currently mining at any of them. The company is also working to permanently close the Pinenut Mine.

ADEQ will hold public meetings in Flagstaff, Tuba City and Fredonia, and hopes to begin the public involvement process by early summer.

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