The Obama administration banned new uranium mining claims around the Grand Canyon for the next 20 years, a move hailed by conservationists on Monday as key to the president's environmental legacy but slammed by opponents as a job-killer.
The decision puts more than 1 million acres of public lands outside the Grand Canyon National Park off limits to all hard-rock mining for two decades, the longest moratorium allowed by law. Existing mining operations would continue.
"One of the things President (Barack)Obama's going to be remembered for is protecting the Grand Canyon," said Jane Danowitz of the Pew Environment Group, a non-profit organization that has pushed for the mining moratorium.
"Despite considerable pushback from the industry and even some in Congress, he didn't punt and he didn't blink and he went and issued the longest moratorium that he could under his executive authority," Danowitz said in a telephone interview.
The Pew group, the League of Conservation Voters, the Sierra Club, Earthjustice, the Center for American Progress and other environmental and progressive groups applauded the decision as protecting the Colorado River watershed, which supplies drinking water for 25 million people.
Read the full article, Obama Bans Uranium Mining Around Grand Canyon, on the Reuters website.