Grijalva: 9th Circuit Ruling Upholding Grand Canyon Uranium Mining Withdrawal is a Huge Win for Environment, Tribes

Washington, D.C. – Ranking Member Raúl M. Grijalva (D-Ariz.) today hailed the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals ruling upholding the Obama administration’s 20-year withdrawal of more than 1 million acres of land around the Grand Canyon from new uranium mining claims. The ruling is an enormous blow to the National Mining Association (NMA), which filed a lawsuit in 2011 seeking to block the withdrawal, and other special interests who had called Obama’s actions illegal.

Today’s 2:00 p.m. Energy and Mineral Resources Subcommittee hearing will feature NMA testimony on the withdrawal. The group is expected to repeat its standard talking points, supported by Republicans on the panel, despite having just been dealt the latest in a string of unambiguous legal defeats.

The 9th Circuit upheld an earlier district court ruling that also supported the Obama administration’s withdrawal. As the 9th Circuit writes today, then-Interior Secretary Ken Salazar “engaged in a careful and reasoned balancing of the potential economic benefits of additional mining against the possible risks of environmental and cultural resources.”

“Special interests who refuse to leave the Grand Canyon alone need to sit down and read this ruling carefully,” Grijalva said. “Our laws allow the secretary of the Interior to protect our environmental quality, protect tribal heritage, and protect special places like the Grand Canyon even if the National Mining Association doesn’t like it. I join Americans all over the country in celebrating this ruling and in hoping Republicans see the need to move beyond failed industry talking points.”

"This morning, the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals upheld the validity of the withdrawal. The Tribe applauds this decision, and vows to continue to oppose all threats to the safety of our lands and waters," Carletta Tilousi, Council Member of the Havasupai Tribe said.

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