New Grand Canyon Uranium Mines Get Pollution Permits

Three proposed uranium mines near Grand Canyon have been issued with air and water pollution permits by the Arizona Department for Environmental Quality.

However the permits appear to be dangerously unenforceable and contain no remediation measures should the permitted pollution be exceeded.

Two of the proposed mines, EZ and Pinenut, are to the north of Grand Canyon while the third, Canyon mine, is to the south.

A US Geological Survey report in 2010 found wells and aquifers were contaminated by previous mining activity to the north of Grand Canyon.

Despite this, the new permits are only general ones and have no specific requirements to measure air or ground water contamination away from the mines.  They also make no mention of how the mines are to pay for the cleanup of any illegal pollution which may occur.

In addition to the environmental dangers, many local residents of the area have been drinking uranium contaminated water for up to 40 years and are now reliant upon bottled water for all their water needs.

Taylor McKinnon, from the Sierra Club’s Center for Biological Diversity, described the move as playing Russian Roulette with Arizona’s environment and said an appeal against them would be launched.

The US Bureau of Land Management has estimated that nearly $3 billlion worth of uranium exists in the Grand Canyon area.

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Picture Credit: whitesandsnm (Grand Canyon) by Timothy Gilliam under Creative Commons No Derivatives License

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