A petition submitted today by a nonprofit environmental group seeks to trigger federal reform of uranium mining regulations on public lands.
The petition focuses on so-called “zombie” mines that have been reopened after long periods of inactivity. It asks for limits on how long a mine can remain on standby, as well as new environmental reviews when an old mine reopens. It also proposes regular inspections of inactive mines, long-term water monitoring and firm deadlines for reclamation.
The Grand Canyon Trust prepared the petition with the support of environmental groups, native nations and local governments, including the Havasupai Tribal Council and Coconino County.
Energy Fuels Resources, a Colorado-based company, has reopened two uranium mines in the Grand Canyon area in recent years, and plans to open another this fall. A company representative says interest in nuclear power as a carbon-free energy source has increased the demand for uranium.
The U.S. Forest Service and U.S. Bureau of Land Management are required to evaluate and respond to the proposed reforms.