Former Vice President and presumptive Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden says he opposes expanded uranium mining near Grand Canyon National Park. KNAU’s Ryan Heinsius reports.
In statement posted on the website Medium, Biden calls the Grand Canyon, “the first among landmarks of our nation.” He says attempts by the Trump administration to ramp up domestic uranium production would deface the canyon and threaten its land and water as well as public health on the Navajo Nation and other tribal lands. Biden says the U.S. can create jobs and increase the country’s energy competitiveness without imperiling iconic areas like the canyon.
A White House taskforce earlier this year recommended loosening restrictions on uranium mining on western public lands. The Trump administration says government should rescue the ailing industry, which has been on the brink of collapse for years.
The Obama administration in 2012 banned new uranium mining claims on a million acres adjacent to the Grand Canyon, but environmentalists say the moratorium is under threat by the current administration. Tribes in the Southwest say uranium production has left a legacy of health problems and suffering among their people.
The White House did not respond to a request for comment.