Grand Canyon Threatened by Uranium Mining

Here's what is at stake and what you can do to protect the Grand Canyon.

Editor's Note: View a slideshow from Post Carbon Institute with photos by Ecoflight to see the threatened land and take action.

The U.S. Forest Service has decided to allow Energy Fuels Resources, Inc. to begin operating a uranium mine near Grand Canyon National Park. The Canyon Mine, located on the Kaibab National Forest six miles south of the park, threatens cultural values, wildlife and endangered species, and increases the risk of soil pollution and pollution and depletion of groundwater feeding springs and wells in and near Grand Canyon.

The mine was originally approved in 1986 and was the subject of protests and lawsuits by the Havasupai tribe and others objecting to potential uranium mining impacts on regional groundwater, springs, creeks, ecosystems and cultural values associated with Red Butte, a Traditional Cultural Property.

Mines that were closed nearly three decades ago continue to pollute streams in the area. The Orphan Mine at the South Rim of Grand Canyon closed in 1969 but still contaminates Horn Creek with radioactive runoff.  Recently, the National Park Service began a clean-up effort for that mine that will cost taxpayers millions.

The Canyon Mine falls within the one-million-acre “mineral withdrawal” approved by the Obama administration in January 2012 to protect Grand Canyon’s watershed from new uranium mining impacts. The withdrawal prohibits new mining claims and mine development on old claims lacking “valid existing rights” to mine. In April 2012, the Forest Service determined that there were “valid existing rights” for the Canyon mine, and in June it issued a report trying to explain its decision to allow the mine to open without updating the 27-year-old environmental review. The Havasupai tribe and three conservation groups are challenging this.

Please speak up against the mine and support protectionof Grand Canyon and its watershed.  

Click the slideshow below to see what's at stake and take action to protect the Grand Canyon.