In a news release, the Congressman was quoted as saying:
“I was pleased to introduce this legislation which will forever protect the magnificence of the Grand Canyon and the people who live near and in the Canyon from damaging uranium mining,” said Rep. Grijalva. “The federal government and mining companies still have not adequately dealt with the clean up of old uranium mine sites on the Navajo Nation and other areas that are causing ongoing health problems. Until these issues are resolved, we should not move forward with new mines, especially next to the crown jewel of our National Park System.”
The legislation came on the heels of a news story regarding exploratory drilling for uranium within a few miles of the Grand Canyon’s South Rim, a popular tourist destination.
Arizona Governor Janet Napolitano has requested the Bush administration to use it’s executive powers to withdraw areas in the vicinity of the Grand Canyon from mining.
The bill calls for protection of 628,000 acres in the Kanab Creek area, 112,655 in House Rock Valley and 327,886 acres in the Tusayan Ranger District of the Kaibab National forest south of the canyon.
A Congressional field hearing will be held on March 28th in the Flagstaff, AZ City Hall. Local elected officials, Tribal representatives, Grand Canyon area business and environmental representatives and uranium experts are expected to attend the hearing.
The legislation, The Grand Canyon Watersheds Protection Act of 2008 (H.R. 5583) has been referred to the Committee on Natural Resources. Congressman Grijalva serves on that committee.