Grand Canyon Uranium Mine to Reopen Despite Federal Ban
Native tribe, environmentalists react with angry lawsuit
By Neal Colgrass, Newser Staff
Posted Apr 1, 2013 4:48 PM CDT
This image provided by Google Maps shows a view from the Grand Canyon and Colorado River in Oct. 2012 in Arizona.    (AP Photo/Google Maps)

(Newser) – An energy company plans to reopen its uranium mine near the Grand Canyon despite a 20-year federal ban on new uranium mines in the area, the Arizona Republic reports. The Huvasupai Tribe and environmentalists are hopping mad, but Energy Fuels Resources has an argument: Its mine is grandfathered because it was approved back in 1986—and the federal government agrees. Opponents counter that the government didn't know the dangers of uranium mining back in 1986.

They say groundwater pollution will either flow into the canyon or contaminate the tribe's only water source. "It’s sacred to us, and we have been mandated by our people—and our ancestors—to protect the site," says a tribal vice chair. But a hydrogeologist notes that no one knows whether water from the uranium mine would reach the aquifer, which is sometimes 3,000 feet deep. Meanwhile, the tribe has joined environmentalists in a lawsuit to block the mine from reopening.

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Showing 3 of 27 comments
1492
Apr 4, 2013 5:58 PM CDT
"Despite a Federal ban"...Does this mean this would be an illegal mine? Ban means to remove permission from opening. The Huvasupai Nation has every reason to sue. Once again, "White Man Speaks with Forked Tongue." A forked tongue is the tongue of a snake. With one Fork Point of the Tongue the Federal Government sez you can't open it. With other Fork Point it sez yes you can. Why was this mine closed. Who owns it. If it interferes in anyway with the way of life of the Huvasupai, Huvasupai should take priority. If it has any probability of ever contanimating any water sources it should stay closed. 1942
GrooveBack
Apr 2, 2013 9:08 PM CDT
"When the cancer finally took him, I was watching the trucks pull in. Me and your daddy, we had a job under the ground, mining uranium. Some things, your daddy leaves you. There’s some things he don’t. Some things are gonna be here anyhow And some things just won't.. One thing I want you to understand is, You ain’t gotta be no mining man. I curse the day that I went down And I pulled that shit out of the ground." - "Point Hope" lyrics sampling
1492
Apr 2, 2013 1:26 PM CDT
I live 165 miles from the Grand Canyon. The well for my home reaches the aquafir at just 300' below, mind you, the elevation from sea level to my home is 6,000'. The Colorado River has been filling and sustaining that aquafir for 3 Billion years. California and Arizona depend on these waters for agriculture. Lake Mead at Hoover Dam is filled by the Colorado and is the emergency holding waters for Mexico. My son and I fish the Colorado. I would hate to think that our Trout are radiation contaminated. The river runs through Laughlin,NV gambling city, Las Vegas is dependant on Colorado water for their energy not to mention California. Lake Havasu City which is the new home to the original "London Bridge" (is falling down, brought brick by brick to Arizona), Yuma, AZ is dependant on these waters for their crops. The hydrologist has been paid. What urgency requires the mining of Uranium. Who is the buyer for this ore?... There is alot more at stake here than meets the eye. Not to mention the welfare and safety of the HavaSupai Native Americans. The overall effect of Uranium Radiation leakage will be no different as if we nuked our people in the areas and citys mentioned above. Over a period of time, more and more cancer. 1942