Ninth Circuit Upholds Grand Canyon Uranium Mining Ban

The U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals upheld the Department of the Interior’s 20-year ban on new uranium mining claims across 1 million acres of public lands adjacent to the Grand Canyon.

The court ruled that the ban, adopted in 2012, complies with the Constitution and federal environmental laws, and that the protected area was not too large, as plaintiff mining companies had argued.

The Havasupai Tribe, Grand Canyon Trust, Sierra Club, Center for Biological Diversity and National Parks Conservation Association intervened in the case in 2013. The groups and the Department of Justice won a 2014 decision by U.S. District Court in Arizona, which upheld Interior’s 2012 uranium mining withdrawal. Mining companies appealed the decision to the 9th Circuit.

The court also rejected a challenge to the Canyon Mine, a uranium mine located on the Kaibab National Forest 6 miles south of Grand Canyon National Park. The court’s decision allows Energy Fuels Inc. to mine.

In January 2012 then-Interior Secretary Ken Salazar issued the 20-year ban that prohibits new mining claims and mine development on existing claims without valid permits. The mining industry claimed that the Interior Department’s evaluation of environmental impacts was inadequate.

5 Comments

  1. Why do you say the part of the decision allowing the continuation of an existing valid mining operations is the Key point? The main issue litigated was whether the Secretary`s twenty year ban on new uranium mining on ONE MILLION ACRES of public land was lawful? Surely, the main point is the decision regarding a ban on NEW mines in the one million acres for a period of twenty years, not a single PRE-EXISTING MINE.

  2. The key point, which is glossed over at best in this article, is that pre-existing mining rights within withdrawn lands can still be operated:

    National Mining Association v Zinke et al Decision.
    “The panel affirmed the district court’s decision rejecting challenges to the decision of th e Secretary of the Interior to withdraw from new uranium mining claims, up to twenty years, over one million acres of land near Grand Canyon National Park….”

    Havasupai Trive et al v. Provencio et al Decision.
    “The panel affirmed the district court’s decision rejecting challenges by the Havasupai Tribe and three environmental groups to the determination of the United States Forest Service that Energy Resources (USA), Inc., and EFR Arizona Strip LLC, had a valid existing right to operate a uranium mine on land within a withdrawal area of public lands around Grand Canyon National Park that the Secretary of the Interior withdrew from new mining claims….

    Opinion: In National Mining Association v. Zinke,____F. 3d_____ (9th Cir. 2017), decided today, we upheld the decision of the Secretary of the Interior to withdraw, for twenty years, more than one million acres of public lands around Grand Canyon National Park from new mining claims. That withdrawal did not extinguish “valid existing rights.” In these consolidated appeals, we consider challenges by the Havasupai Tribe (“the Tribe”) and three environmental groups—Grand Canyon Trust, Center for Biological Diversity and Sierra Club (collectively, “the Trust”)—to the determination of the United States Forest Service (the “Forest Service”) that Energy Fuels Resources (USA), Inc., and EFR Arizona Strip LLC (collectively, “Energy Fuels”) had a valid existing right to operate a uranium mine on land with in the withdrawal area. As elaborated below, we affirm the district court’s thorough and well-reasoned order rejecting those challenges…”

  3. 9th Circuit Court? Of course they did. If Salazar can ban it by fiat, President Trump can lift the ban by fiat. First though, we need to make sure no Democrat can sell the Uranium to the Russians.

    • They will give it away for donations to their phoney baloney Bill Clinton Foundations. Now Obama has started one. America will be sold out.

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