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Scrapbook: Club, Allies Stop Uranium Mining Next to Grand Canyon

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Sierra Club Scrapbook

October 14, 2008

Club, Allies Stop Uranium Mining Next to Grand Canyon

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On September 25 the Sierra Club, the Center for Biological Diversity, and the Grand Canyon Trust won a major victory in stopping the Forest Service's plan to allow uranium mining exploration in the Kaibab National Forest, just outside Grand Canyon National Park.

The court settlement requires the Forest Service and the VANE Minerals to withdraw all current applications and approvals for exploratory drilling in the forest. It then requires the Forest Service and mining companies to prepare an environmental impact statement under the National Environmental Policy Act as part of any future permit applications.

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"Contrary to claims by the uranium industry and the Bush administration, the court found that uranium mining has a significant impact on the environment," says Arizona-based Sierra Club organizer Stacey Hamburg, above right. Mining would have destroyed the pristine environment surrounding the park and threatened to contaminate the Colorado River, the source of drinking water for tens of millions of people. 

"Club volunteers donated countless hours toward stopping this destructive mining from happening," says Grand Canyon chapter Director Sandy Bahr, above left. Chapter activists attended public hearings, below, wrote letters-to-the-editor and letters to their congressional delegations, and developed and printed postcards for the Havasupai Tribe to distribute to visitors to their tribal lands in the Grand Canyon.

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"The surrounding five tribes have said no more mining, but their waters, health, and sacred sites are still at risk from mining on adjacent lands," says Hamburg. "We really appreciate the strong community support during the field hearing as well as the work of our environmental and tribal partners."

Adds Bahr: "The Grand Canyon is special to our chapter, to Arizona, to America, and to visitors from around the world. This case could not have been settled without the hard work of the Arizona Chapter of the Sierra Club."

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Top photo courtesy of Kaibab National Forest. Bottom photo courtesy of Grand Canyon National Park.

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