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Flagstaff City Council Passes Resolution Opposing Uranium Transportation

Caleb Eckert

The Flagstaff City Council has passed an ordinance opposing the transportation of uranium from a mine near the South Rim of the Grand Canyon. Officials worry the planned 10 truckloads per day that’ll travel through the area represent a threat to public health. KNAU’s Ryan Heinsius reports.

The resolution declares social justice and the defense of indigenous communities in the region among the council’s primary goals. It also lists potential health effects of uranium mining like lung and bone cancer and impaired kidney function, and declares Flagstaff a “nuclear free zone.”

However, city officials acknowledge the resolution is symbolic, as uranium hauling is regulated by state and federal agencies.

Credit Caleb Eckert
Protesters opposing uranium mining and hauling gathered outside Flagstaff City Hall during the council's meeting Tue, Nov. 7.

The company, Energy Fuels Resources, plans to transport ore from the Canyon Mine using Interstate-40 near Williams, or forest roads north of the San Francisco Peaks. A company representative says the vote is disappointing, and uranium hauling represents little threat to the community.

Tribes like the Navajo and Havasupai strongly oppose uranium production, and are still feeling the effects of more than 500 abandoned mines leftover from the Cold War.

Ryan Heinsius was named interim news director and managing editor in January 2024. He joined KNAU's newsroom as an executive producer in 2013. He covers a broad range of stories from local, state and tribal politics to education, economy, energy and public lands issues, and frequently interviews internationally known and regional musicians. Ryan is an Edward R. Murrow Award winner and a Public Media Journalists Association Award winner, and a frequent contributor to NPR's Morning Edition, All Things Considered and national newscast.
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