Uranium Mining Ban Detrimental to Arizona’s Economy
“The federal government today has involved itself in yet another instance of excessive and unnecessary regulation – this time potentially at the expense of hundreds of high-paying jobs and billions of dollars worth of revenue for the Arizona economy.
“Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar this morning announced that his agency’s ‘preferred alternative’ is that nearly one million acres of land situated near the Grand Canyon be put off-limits to uranium mining. This decision flies in the face of years of Arizona experience with uranium mining in northern parts of our state, where mining operations have been conducted responsibly and in accordance with federal and state oversight. In fact, both the Arizona Geological Survey and Arizona Department of Environmental Quality have submitted findings that uranium mining – conducted lawfully and with proper oversight – constitutes minimal environmental risk to the Grand Canyon and Colorado River.
“If instituted, this uranium mining ban would deal a blow to future economic growth near the Grand Canyon, as well as our nation’s attempts to improve its energy independence. That’s because these sections of the Colorado Plateau contain the highest-grade uranium ore in the country. The responsible extraction of these deposits would assist domestic energy production and pump an estimated $10 billion into the local economy over the life of the mines, creating quality jobs in rural Arizona and tribal areas of our state hit hard by the recession. Simply put, today’s announcement by the U.S. Department of the Interior is scientifically unsound and economically unwise.
“I love the Grand Canyon. It is easily Arizona’s most recognizable landmark, as well as a timeless treasure and natural resource for the people of Arizona and the world. Nobody wants to see this region harmed, which is why state experts have done studies to ensure that additional uranium mining can be conducted safely and securely. With that information, I ask that federal officials reconsider today’s decision. I want to see the Grand Canyon region flourish and the economy thrive. With a balanced federal policy with respect to uranium mining, both are possible.”