The Flagstaff City Council has again affirmed its opposition to uranium mining near the Grand Canyon. Members passed a resolution last week supporting a federal bill to permanently ban new claims on a million acres. KNAU’s Ryan Heinsius reports.
The nonbinding resolution cites the decades-long history of environmental impacts as well as health problems among local tribes attributed to uranium mining. It supports the Grand Canyon Centennial Protection Act introduced last month in the U.S. House by Tucson Democrat Raul Grijalva.
New uranium claims near the park were banned for 20 years in 2012 by the Interior Department. Grijalva’s bill would make the moratorium permanent and has the support of the Havasupai, Hualapai, Navajo and Hopi tribes, along with other local officials and environmental groups.
The Flagstaff council has issued previous resolutions opposing mining and transportation of uranium, and declared Flagstaff a Nuclear Free Zone in 2017.
The Canyon Mine, less than 10 miles from the South Rim, is the only active uranium mine near the park, but isn’t yet producing ore. The mine’s owners in the past have said uranium production poses little threat to the environment and local communities.