The Grand Canyon To Be Protected From Uranium Mining

In what is a defining moment, the Obama administration announced this week measures that will protect the Grand Canyon from future mining activities on over a million acres of public land. In particular, the decision to institute a mining moratorium will foreclose against the permitting of new uranium mines in the Grand Canyon area.

This is notable given that uranium mining, a questionable endeavor at best, has had an especially ugly history in the Grand Canyon region.  By choosing to protect the Grand Canyon from new mining activities, President Obama and Interior Secretary Ken Salazar should be applauded for choosing to safeguard one of the world’s greatest natural treasures.

Pointedly, the Southwest is littered with thousands of abandoned uranium mines.  As an example of the scale of the problem, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) have spent $12 million dollars annually in an effort to just identify the number of old and abandoned mines in the Navajo Nation alone.  And this program cannot not even begin to address the costs necessary to remediate the hundreds of abandoned uranium mines that the EPA is discovering, for clean-up estimates approach a billion dollars. 

Putting aside environmental considerations for a minute, the financial toll alone should be reason enough for Sec. Salazar to approve a mining moratorium – based upon the fact that taxpayers have ended up with the remediation paycheck for an industry that has deliberately circumvented its financial responsibility to cover the toll for the damage that mining inevitably creates.  Of course “remediate” is a euphemism at best, that should not be confused with “cleaned up.”

Because once uranium mining activities are permitted to proceed, an impacted area will never be quite the same.  Uranium mining is a dirty, dirty business that leaves a toxic and radioactive trail of impacts that cannot be easily contained.  The evidence of this can be seen in the Grand Canyon itself, where a number of old and abandoned uranium mines are still a threat to the health of the Colorado River.

While today’s decision does not directly address the systemic threats associated with the uranium mining industry as a whole, Sec. Salazar has at the very least established a line in the sand: that there are places too great to allow such destructive practices to persist.  Subsequently, the Grand Canyon is an obvious and deserving recipient of such a policy thanks to the leadership demonstrated by the administration on this issue.

[Photo By odonoughue]

Subscribe today!

  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

Must Read

U.S. citizen detained overnight by ICE – they thought he was undocumented

Victor Landa July 6, 2017

By Victor Landa, NewsTaco (1.5 minute read)  This is startling news. Up until last night at a dinner conversation I believed that the idea that an American citizen would be […]

Willie Velásquez documentary is a lesson for Latinos on the importance of voting

NewsTaco May 9, 2017

*Why you should read this: Because today is Willie Velasquez day and a quick search of his name turned up no news stories. This piece, by Mercedes Olivera, is from […]

DIECIOCHO Podcast: Texas Rep. Rafael Anchia – Trump, Gerrymandering and Money

NewsTaco June 8, 2017

By Victor Landa, NewsTaco (1 minute read, 34 minute listen)  It’s safe to say that the just-ended Texas legislative session was the most acrimonious in memory. We can talk for […]

Pence will host White House Cinco de Mayo party

NewsTaco May 4, 2017

*Why you should read this: Because there’ll be no Cinco de Mayo celebration at the White House (I know, big deal – we’ll be spared the taco-bowl). VL By Hadas […]

Ted Cruz gets an earful in McAllen for July 4

Victor Landa July 5, 2017

*I’m posting this because it was mostly Latinos, organizing, protesting, making their voices heard. Everyone needs to know that Latinos in deep South Texas are standing up. VL By Patrick […]

Vietnam War veteran fears he could be deported

Victor Landa July 7, 2017

*This Vietnam veteran, born in Mexico, was awarded two Purple Hearts and given U.S. citizenship after his service. He’s misplaced his documents and after paying $345 the government wants more […]

Henry Cisneros: Why Can’t Americans See Latinos Are Country’s ‘Saving Grace’?

Victor Landa

*Good question. I think it’s because we’re not the ones telling our story. We need to fight for our narrative. VL By Suzanne Gamboa, NBC News (1.5 minute read)  SAN […]

Castro will not run for U.S. Senate

NewsTaco May 1, 2017

By Victor Laneda, NewsTaco (i.5 minute read)    Rep. Joaquin Castro (D-TX) says he will not be running for the U.S. Senate against Ted Cruz. Castro had promised to make […]