Los Angeles Times
Interior Secretary Ken Salazar announced Monday a final decision to impose a 20-year ban on new mining claims on 1 million acres surrounding the Grand Canyon, an area where uranium mining stakes have spiked 2,000% in the last seven years.
The ban "is the right approach for this priceless American landscape," Salazar said. "We have been entrusted to care for and protect our precious environmental and cultural resources, and we have chosen a responsible path that makes sense for this and future generations."
The moratorium builds on a 2 /1/2-year hiatus on mining claims Salazar imposed in 2008 in response to the rise of mining claims along the edge of the Grand Canyon National Park.
Mining claims around the Grand Canyon are among the thousands filed by companies along the borders of numerous national parks and wilderness areas. In the last seven years, mining companies, many of them foreign firms, have filed claims to the rights to copper, gold, uranium and other metals on federal land around Mt. Rushmore, Joshua Tree National Park and other famous refuges at an increased rate because of rising global prices, according to a 2011 report by the Pew Environment Group.
Critics say an outmoded 1872 law is driving the increase in claims in such sensitive places. The law allows corporations to stake out rights to federal lands for mining without a competitive bid and to extract resources without paying royalties.
Read the full article, U.S. Bans New Grand Canyon Uranium-Mining Claims, on the Los Angeles Times website.