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Statement on Passage of Emergency Withdrawal to Protect the Grand Canyon

Today, the House Natural Resources Committee took an important step to protect the Grand Canyon, the crown jewel of our National Park system. Over the past five years, the threat of uranium development outside its borders has increased more than a hundredfold. In response, the Committee passed an emergency resolution to temporarily withdraw over 1 million acres adjacent to the Park from new mining claim staking. We applaud the champion of this initiative, Congressman Grijalva, for his leadership on this issue.

Unfortunately, this withdrawal is just an interim measure to protect this important ecosystem. Uranium mining, like other metals on public lands, is governed by the antiquated 1872 Mining Law, a law which has no environmental standards to protect these important natural resources and makes mining a priority over all other uses of public lands. In the absence of real and meaningful reform of the 1872 Mining Law, threats to the Grand Canyon and other treasured places will continue to grow.

The House of Representatives has already acted to reform this archaic law. The Senate must take action to enact comprehensive 1872 Mining Law reform to finally protect national treasures like the Grand Canyon once and for all.


EARTHWORKS is a non-profit organization dedicated to protecting communities and the environment from the destructive impacts of mineral development, in the U.S. and worldwide.