Thursday, October 2, 2014

Judge upholds 20-year ban on new uranium mines near Grand Canyon

PHOENIX (Sept. 30, 2014) - A federal judge Tuesday upheld the U.S. Department of the Interior’s 20-year ban on new uranium mines on 1 million acres near the Grand Canyon, rejecting a challenge by a coalition of mining industry groups.
The consolidated lawsuit, which had as a lead plaintiff Gregory Yount, manager of the Northern Arizona Uranium Project, alleged that the federal government acted improperly when it imposed the ban in 2012. Among other claims, Yount said then-Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar improperly favored Native American claims that the land was sacred.
Salazar said at the time that the ban was needed to protect water and wildlife around Grand Canyon National Park. The land in question is in the Kaibab National Forest north and south of the canyon.
The ruling by U.S. District Judge David Campbell said the plaintiffs’ claims were without merit.
“The court can find no legal principle that prevents DOI from acting in the face of uncertainty,” the decision read. “Nor can the court conclude that the Secretary abused his discretion or acted arbitrarily, capriciously or in violation of law when he chose to err on the side of caution in protecting a national treasure – Grand Canyon National Park.”
The decision was also about protecting the interests of the Havasupai tribe, which has ancestral ties to the land, said Ted Zukoski, staff attorney for Earthjustice, one of the law firms representing the interests of tribe and other defendants.

more: Judge upholds 20-year ban on new uranium mines near Grand Canyon – Cronkite News

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