Court Upholds Uranium Mining Ban Around Grand Canyon, Allows Nearby Mine

"The U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit on Tuesday upheld a 20-year ban on uranium mining around Grand Canyon National Park but ruled in a separate case that a uranium company could open a mine nearby.

The two unanimous rulings by the three-judge panel came as the Trump administration considers lifting the ban, in place since 2012, as part of a broader effort to boost domestic energy production and promote the mining of critical minerals in the United States. A House Natural Resources subcommittee held a hearing Tuesday in which Republicans warned against putting federal lands off-limits to mining.

The 2012 ban blocked new mining claims and placed restrictions on mine development on existing claims in a million-acre area around the Grand Canyon park, though the Interior Department indicated that up to 11 claims could proceed. The appellate court ruled that imposing a freeze on new claims 'for a limited period will permit more careful, longer-term study of the uncertain effects of uranium mining in the area and better-informed decision making in the future.'"

Juliet Eilperin reports for the Washington Post December 12, 2017.

Source: Washington Post, 12/13/2017