Monday, June 20, 2011

Emergency 6-month federal withdrawal of 1 million acres in Northern Arizona

This morning, Secretary of Interior Ken Salazar will announce an emergency withdrawal of 1 million acres of federal lands in northern Arizona from mineral exploration and entry. The lands are under a 'segregation' order through July 20 while an EIS on mining is completed.

The Secretary will also announce that the preferred alternative for the mineral EIS is one calling for a 20 year withdrawal of the full million acres from mineral activity, the most restrictive option under consideration.

BLM and Park Service officials earlier this morning stated that evaluation of comments on the draft EIS are still underway but they had enough concerns over water quality and park values to make the decision before analysis of the comments was complete.

A press conference is set for 11:30 am this morning, Arizona time, for the Secretary to make these announcements, along with the heads of the Park Service, BLM, and USGS,

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