Grijalva Pushes for Answers, Committee Hearing As Forest Service Suggests New Uranium Mining Near Grand Canyon

Washington, D.C. – In a letter to Chairman Rob Bishop (R-Utah) today, Ranking Member Raúl M. Grijalva (D-Ariz.) repeated his previously ignored request for a hearing on his bill – H.R. 360 – to create the Greater Grand Canyon Heritage National Monument, an effort that has new resonance in the wake of a U.S. Forest Service report to the president opening the door to new uranium mining near the Grand Canyon. Grijalva first requested a hearing on the bill in January, which Chairman Bishop ignored.

Grijalva also wrote today to Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue, asking him to explain the rationale behind the recommendation, whether Native American communities had been consulted and whether the public would have a chance to weigh in before the recommendations are implemented.

Approximately 1 million acres to the north and south of the Grand Canyon are currently subject to a 20-year moratorium on new uranium mining claims, dating back to a finding by Obama-era Interior Secretary Ken Salazar that came after an extensive public outreach process. The Forest Service report suggests ending the moratorium, a move Grijalva points out would be environmentally hazardous und scientifically unsupportable.

“Rescinding the existing withdrawal, after only five years and without scientific or public review, would be irresponsible and threaten a watershed that provides drinking water to more than 20 million Americans,” Grijalva writes to Bishop today. “In addition to providing critical ecosystem services, the Grand Canyon contains a tremendous array of cultural resources and is sacred to Native Americans throughout the region.”

Grijalva underscores in his letters to Bishop and Perdue that the National Congress of American Indians and the Inter-Tribal Council of Arizona support H.R. 360 and deserve an opportunity to share their views with Congress prior to any change in the management of the area.

The letter to Bishop is available at http://bit.ly/2zgRyFX. The letter to Perdue is available at http://bit.ly/2j0tMIh.

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