FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: January 9, 2012
Mining Can Stimulate Economy without Jeopardizing Natural Beauty of the Grand Canyon
Mesa, Arizona – Republican Congressman Jeff Flake, who represents Arizona’s Sixth District, today condemned the Obama Administration’s decision to implement a 20-year ban on new mining claims on 1 million acres of federal land outside of Grand Canyon National park in an area known as the Arizona Strip.
In 2009, Department of the Interior Secretary Ken Salazar halted new mining claims for two years. In extending the ban on new claims for another six months in July of 2011, the Secretary announced that the preferred alternative is to implement a 20-year withdrawal.
“Uranium mining in northern Arizona occurs well outside Grand Canyon National Park and poses no threat to the Grand Canyon or the tourism industry in northern Arizona. This withdrawal is simply another example of the Obama Administration’s overreach that will stymie local economic growth and local job creation,” said Flake. “The Grand Canyon is a treasure, so if I believed that uranium mining in parts of northern Arizona posed a threat to the Canyon, I would not support it.”
Congressman Flake has worked to prevent this withdrawal from being put in place. In July of 2011, he added language to the House Interior Appropriations bill that prevents the Interior Department from moving ahead with a withdrawal plan. Congressman Flake’s language wasn’t included in a final FY2012 spending bill. In October of 2011, along with Congressman Trent Franks (AZ-02), Congressman Flake introduced in the House the Northern Arizona Mining Continuity Act, which would prohibit the Department of the Interior from implementing the withdrawal. Senators John McCain (R,-AZ) and Jon Kyl (R-AZ) introduced the legislation in the Senate.