Does Sen. John McCain Approve of Proposed Uranium Mines Near the Grand Canyon?

An Open Letter to Senator John McCain, Presumptive Republican Presidential Candidate

This hit me the other day; how does the Republican Presidential Candidate-in-Waiting view the possible mining of uranium just 3 miles from the Grand Canyon?

Senator John McCain (R-AZ) knows the canyon well, he’s reportedly hiked it a number of times, knows where the only uranium mine that operated there is located, yet has said nothing about the 1000 or more permits being sought to explore for uranium near the park.  I’ve searched his Senate website, news reports on the issue and his name is nowhere to be seen.  Why is that?

It’s even more puzzling, since he called for 45 new nuclear reactors in America within the next two decades.  Where will they get the fuel needed to operate those plants, from mines bordering the Grand Canyon and other sites in national forest areas?

And does he feel it’s safe to mine so close to the Colorado River?

What about the radioactive waste they will leave behind?

This is your state Senator McCain, the one you have represented well during your terms in office, are you going to abandon America’s crown jewel for some special interests?

Open letter to Senator John McCain.

  • Do you approve of uranium mining in the Grand Canyon area, and in five western states where an estimated 43,000 new claims have been filed ?  Some of those areas are near Arches National Park, Capitol Reef National Park and Canyonlands National Park in Utah.  And what about the Dolores River Canyon in Colorado?
  • Do you support revising the 1872 General Mining Law that allows companies to exploit minerals from public lands without paying a cent for the privilege, and then leaving their messes for the taxpayer to clean up?
  • Arizona Congressman Raul Grijalva (D-AZ), has introduced a “Resolution of the Committee on Natural Resources, United States House of Representatives, calling for the Secretary of the Interior “to immediately withdraw 1 million acres of federal land surrounding Grand Canyon National Park from further claims under the 1872 General Mining Law.”
  • The authority is derived from Section 204(e), (PDF page 9) of the Federal Land Policy and Management Act which allows such action in what is termed “an extreme emergency“.  The procedure, according to Congressman Grijalva’s news release, was last invoked by the late Arizona Congressman Morris K Udall.
  • Will you support this action, and immediately contact the Secretary of the Interior in support of this resolution?
  • Do you believe that the in-situ leaching process is without danger to the environment?
  • Do you believe that if mining is allowed, that the Colorado River and smaller tributaries will be safe from radiation contamination?  As you well know, the Colorado River supplies water to two major cities in Arizona, Phoenix and Tucson, not to mention Las Vegas, NV, and Southern California.
  • Are you willing to take that risk?
  • Are you in favor of licensing and completion of the nuclear waste repository at Yucca Mountain in Nevada?

In all due respect, Senator, some of these questions require a “yes” or “no” answer.  I do hope you will give me, a registered voter and one of your constituents, and everyone concerned with this issue, the appropriate response.

You should also know, I’m sending a copy of this article to Sen. Barack Obama, asking him to respond to the same questions, and to Congressman Raul Grijalva, the Representative in my district, to show my support for sanity as it applies to nuclear concerns not only in Arizona, but America as well.

Thank you, Mr. McCain for your attention.  I know you’re busy, but I would like to hear from you personally instead of a “spokesperson”, after all, this is a very important issue.

I shall post your response, and that of Sen. Obama and Congressman Grijalva.


Max Lindberg

Tucson, AZ

Image Credit:…/ Tours/Grand_Canyon_7739.jpg

BLM FAQ on filing claims.

Reference Files:

Uranium Claims Spring Up Along Grand Canyon Rim

House Waves Bye-Bye to 1872 Mining Law

McCain Wants 45 New Nuclear Reactors and Clean Coal

3 thoughts on “Does Sen. John McCain Approve of Proposed Uranium Mines Near the Grand Canyon?”

  1. Mark Kiernan, Venice, Italy

    Last year (when I didn’t know much about him) I thought John McCain was a maverick and would be different from the current Bush administration, but it appears that he is pretty much the same. He claims to care about Global Warming but I am not so sure.

  2. John E. Thomas, Jr.

    A nuclear reactor produces plutonium-239
    It’s half life is 24,000 years
    It takes 10 half lifes before it will be safe
    That is it will take 240,000 years before that happens
    We have 104 nuclear reactors in the country now, and since we cannot dispose of the waste now, what are we going to do with the nuclear waste that 149 + reactors will produce ?

  3. Excellent questions, and ones which deserve, nay, should be *required*, to be answered by all of our representatives in Congress. I happen to believe that we haven’t done nearly enough research into the replenishing of “spent” fuel rods. I am no expert in this area, but I have the science background in Physics to know that it is possible to re-use a lot of the “waste” that is slated to be tossed into Yucca Mountain. I don’t know that new mining would be required at all for Senator McCain’s proposed new nuclear power stations, and until more work is done in this area, I oppose *all* new mining.

    Ultimately, we need to make a lot more efforts into reducing our population. A lot of our problems will simply vanish, or be magically reduced, if we do not add another billion people to this planet by century’s end, and actually reduce the current load a little by then. No magic pill will do it, and no draconian measures are necessary. People all around the world simply need to show a little restraint.

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