Conservationists have asked state officials to deny air-pollution permits for three uranium mines near the Grand Canyon. Arizona Public Radio’s Ryan Heinsius reports, the groups say the mines threaten public health and the environment.
The Grand Canyon Trust, Sierra Club, and Center for Biological Diversity filed official comments this week. The mines are within the Grand Canyon’s watershed, and they worry radiation and heavy metals could taint the area’s water, air and wildlife.
The Arizona Department of Environmental Quality put the air-pollution permit renewals for the mines on hold last year after elevated levels of uranium were found in soil. Officials with the agency say new draft permits include stricter uranium dust control measures and soil sampling requirements that further protect the area.
The Arizona 1 and EZ mines are located near the North Rim, and the Canyon Mine is south of Tusayan. The public can comment on ADEQ’s draft permit renewals through the end of the month.