Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Rarely used emergency declaration halts uranium exploration

The House Resources Committee invoked a rarely-used provision to halt new mining claims for uranium on a million acres of federal lands outside Grand Canyon National Park for up to 3 years. [right: Vane Minerals uranium exploration site.]

The Committee made an emergency declaration under the Federal Land Policy and Management Act, which has been used only four other times in history to halt energy development. The last time was 1983, but reportedly a Justice Dept. opinion that year found similar resolutions to be unconstitutional.

The committee's vote is all that is necessary to temporarily block mining claims. Rep. Raul Grijalva called it a temporary measure until action can be taken to permanently halt exploration and mining.

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