"FLAGSTAFF, Ariz. -- The reclassification of nearly 1 million acres of land around the Grand Canyon to prevent new mining claims comes with a fundamental change in how the U.S. Forest Service does business with mining companies.
Companies that file to do exploratory drilling and other projects on more than 560 square miles of the Kaibab National Forest now must prove they have valid existing rights to their claims. That could include providing evidence that the mineral has been discovered at the surface with sufficient quality and quantity.
That wasn't the case before Interior Secretary Ken Salazar last month blocked any new mining claims on the land for a two-year period. He took the action to slow a flurry of new uranium mining operations planned in the Grand Canyon area while the Interior Department studies whether the land should be permanently withdrawn from mining activity."