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PNS Daily Newscast - November 15, 2018 


Lawyer Michael Avenatti arrested on a domestic violence charge. Also on the Thursday rundown: More testimony on Ohio's "anti-protest" bill; and we'll take you to the Dakotas to celebrate American Education Week.

Daily Newscasts

Court Upholds Grand Canyon Uranium Mining Ban As Congress Debates Issue

An appeals court ruled Tuesday that the Canyon Uranium Mine near Grand Canyon National Park can proceed without updating its 1986 permit, but also upheld the 2012 ban on new mines. (Bret Fanshaw/Environment America)
An appeals court ruled Tuesday that the Canyon Uranium Mine near Grand Canyon National Park can proceed without updating its 1986 permit, but also upheld the 2012 ban on new mines. (Bret Fanshaw/Environment America)
December 13, 2017

PHOENIX – Environmental groups and Native American tribes fighting uranium mining on the rim of the Grand Canyon are praising a federal court's decision on Tuesday to uphold a 20-year ban on new mines, while acknowledging that the area still is at great risk.

A panel of judges on the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals upheld the Obama-era ban, which was designed to protect the air and watershed from mining waste pollution.

However, Roger Clark, executive program director for the Grand Canyon Trust, says the decision isn't all good news.

"The court upheld the secretary's authority to order the withdrawal, but it also leaves the withdrawal vulnerable for being overturned through the authority of the current secretary," he points out.

The Trump administration has indicated a willingness to lift the ban, which covers more than 1 million acres on the north and south rims of the Grand Canyon, but environmental groups have vowed to challenge any such move.

Meanwhile also Tuesday, the House Subcommittee on Energy and Minerals held a hearing on the issue, where opponents of the ban testified that uranium is a critical strategic resource that should be mined in the U.S. to reduce dependence on foreign producers.

Carletta Tilousi, a member of the Havasupai Tribal Council, says her people have been fighting uranium mining on public lands near her ancestral home in the canyon since the 1980s.

She adds that she thinks unexplained cancers and miscarriages in her community may be linked to pollution from existing mines.

"Right above the Redwall Muav aquifer on the south rim are thousands of uranium claims waiting for exploratory drilling,” she points out. “We fear uranium contamination will not only poison my family, my tribe and myself but also millions of people that are living downstream."

The court also ruled Tuesday that the existing Canyon Mine, which sits six miles south of the national park in the Kaibab National Forest, can start operations without updating its environmental review, which was done in 1986.




Suzanne Potter, Public News Service - AZ