Grijalva: Sec. Perdue’s Answers to Questions Reaffirm My Support for Continuing Grand Canyon Uranium Mining Moratorium

Washington, D.C. – Ranking Member Raúl M. Grijalva (D-Ariz.) today said a response from Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue to his questions about the agency’s recent recommendation to consider canceling a 20-year moratorium on new uranium mining claims near the Grand Canyon has only strengthened his support for keeping the moratorium in place. Perdue was responding to Grijalva’s Nov. 3 letter, which noted that the USFS review “offers no analysis or justification for lifting the moratorium.”

Perdue’s letter and a fuller written response to Grijalva’s questions are available at http://bit.ly/2zfxT95.

The agency’s recommendation to consider lifting the Grand Canyon-area moratorium was part of a larger examination of USFS regulatory issues prompted by Executive Order 13783, a Trump directive for federal agencies to examine potential “barriers” to energy development on federal lands. Grijalva called the review “typical of this administration’s scribbled-on-a-napkin policy process, which congressional Republicans habitually rubber-stamp.”

“The recommendations included in the report you referenced in your query are for consideration and do not initiate a Federal action,” Perdue’s letter notes, arguing that no consultation was undertaken with Native American communities or other stakeholders before issuing the recommendation because suggesting a potential policy direction required no such consultation.

“The Grand Canyon is not a strip mine in waiting, and this administration needs to get that through its head,” Grijalva said today. “These are some of the most beautiful and sensitive lands in the country, and no matter who’s making decisions today or tomorrow, they need to be protected for the long term. Uranium mining can’t hold a candle to the economic benefits of conservation and tourism. Opening up new uranium mines or allowing new claims to be filed in this region is a dead issue. Let’s drop it and move on once and for all.”

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