Trump is using a pandemic to weaken environmental law. First victim: The Grand Canyon
There's no such thing as a 'safe' uranium mine. Yet a new report recommends excluding these mines from public review and comment.
President Trump is using the worst pandemic in a century to weaken our environmental laws without public oversight, and he isn’t sparing the Grand Canyon.
While Americans shelter at home, waiting for the administration to offer a more effective medical response than injecting bleach, an administration advisory group just released a report recommending opening more public lands to uranium extraction.
The steps recommended in a new report by the Nuclear Fuel Working Group, an industry-stacked panel the president created through an executive order in July 2019, look a lot like pre-determined conclusions.
One of the most alarming should worry every Arizonan, and frankly every American: excluding uranium mines from the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA), which gives Americans the chance to review and comment on major proposals that impact them.
The report, if it’s implemented, paves the way for dangerous mining of the sort that even industry cheerleaders don’t suggest in public.
Report would give polluters a free pass
This is not alarmism. The report spells it out in black and white when it recommends that federal regulators “consider categorical exclusions for uranium mineral exploration and development activities.” A categorical exclusion is offered only to individual projects determined to have no impact on the environment.
These are sometimes handed out to industry in the guise of streamlining or efficiency — which, under recent Republican administrations, have become code words for giving polluters a free pass.
The Trump administration wants to take advantage of widespread stay-at-home policies to weaken laws that protect us from unchecked pollution. A democratic government puts the people first, and cutting environmental regulations while the people aren’t able to go to a public meeting or make sure their voices are heard is not democratic.
These recommendations are another in a long line of industry giveaways being pushed under cover of pandemic without public scrutiny.
The American people should reject this report and the rigged process used to prepare it. And as a credible new analysis from the Grand Canyon Trust shows us, even if we wanted to take the report seriously, there’s no such thing as a truly “safe” uranium mine.
By: Chair Raúl M. Grijalva
Source: Arizona Republic
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