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Tuesday, March 19, 2019

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As Republicans have launched a trumped-up investigation into Hillary Clinton’s tenuous connection to the 2010 sale of a uranium company, those same Republicans are preparing to hand over protected public land to uranium mining companies.

A new U.S. Forest Service report suggests undoing an order under former President Barack Obama that banned new uranium mines near the Grand Canyon for two decades.

“The Forest Service should be advocating for a permanent mining ban, not for advancing private mining interests that threaten one of the natural wonders of the world,” said Amber Reimondo, energy program director for Grand Canyon Trust.

The 2012 order from then-Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar withdrew 1 million acres of Forest Service and Bureau of Land Management Land from new mining for 20 years. Existing mines and claims were allowed to continue.

The National Mining Association has challenged the ban in court but has lost so far. The case has been appealed to the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco.

In October, the association was addressed at a board meeting at the Trump International Hotel in Washington by Energy Secretary Rick Perry, Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross and Labor Secretary Alexander Acosta.

Other plaintiffs include the Nuclear Energy Institute which has spent $1.4 million on federal lobbying so far this year.

At the center of the controversy is Energy Fuels Resources, a Lakewood, Colo.-based mining company that owns the Canyon Mine near the south rim of the Grand Canyon and the White Mesa Mill. It is the only fully licensed and operating conventional uranium mill in the United States, about 300 miles away in Utah. The company’s parent corporation is incorporated in Ontario, Canada. The company has extensive mining interests throughout the West.

Uranium was discovered near the south rim in 1951. The Orphan Mine produced 13 million pounds of uranium used to power nuclear reactors and make nuclear weapons.

Outside the park, the turquoise Havasupai Falls at the bottom of a canyon on Native American land attracts hikers. The tribal name means “people of the blue-green water.”

“This is a dangerous industry that is motivated by profit and greed with a long history of significantly damaging lands and waters,” said Tribal Chairman Don Watahomigie. “They are now seeking new mines when this industry has yet to clean up the hundreds of existing mines all over the landscape that continue to damage our home.”

The interest in new uranium mines in our country comes as China and Russia are building new nuclear reactors. At home, nuclear energy has become increasingly costly. Westinghouse, which built nuclear reactors, went bankrupt.

The global price of uranium has fallen since reaching high in 2011. The U.S. produced 1,126 tons of uranium last year out of global production of more than 62,000 tons or less than 2% of the total.

Featured Image: Closeup of a map showing the location of the Canyon Mine near the Grand Canyon (Grand Canyon Trust).


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11 responses to “Washington’s Real Uranium Scandal”

  1. PrecipitousDrop says:

    Rosatom is the premier Russian uranium corporation, and the giant boogeyman “buyer” in the imaginary Uranium One scandal.
    Do they have an ownership interest in this article’s Energy Fuel Resources, or their parent corporation — based in Ontario? Is Rosatom a majority shareholder in either entity?
    Is the Trump administration really trying to sell the Grand Canyon to the Russians for the same price of all mineral rights to public lands, five dollars an acre?

    • dpaano says:

      Oh, heaven forbid… would be a new controversy! They’re trying to blame Hillary for doing the same thing they are setting about to do….hypocrites!! 2018 and 2020 can’t come fast enough! These idiots are polluting our waterways, our air, and now our national parks and scenic vistas!

  2. dpaano says:

    The so-called three “secretaries” need to be hung by their balls over the canyon! Why would ANYONE want to pollute the one really beautiful place that we have just to mine uranium, which is not worth much on the market anyway? These idiots have NO idea what they’re doing or why…..they’re just doing whatever they think will be against the past administration! I would hope the Havapai tribes would have something to say about these mines, especially if they are on their land or near it! We need to stop these politicians from undoing what was done in the past to save our national parks! They should have NO right to overturn these laws for their own personal greed!

  3. Richard Prescott says:

    No no no, not hung by their balls over the canyon. Their balls dipped in honey and they are staked on fire ant nests.

  4. dbtheonly says:

    The real scandal is the number of Navaho who suffered, and are suffering, from the effects of radiation from mining. Protection for the Workers, and safety for the neighbors were too evpensive for the mining companies.

    • Shannon says:

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    • Tiffany says:

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  5. Eleanore Whitaker says:

    You know what the real joke about this so called Uranium scandal is? Hillary never had the authority to authorize such a deal. It would have had to be signed by President Obama. And, it was Putin who requested that uranium. How do we know Trump wasn’t about to make a killing from that sale since he absolutely cannot bring himself to do his job and implement the bi partisan Russian sanctions for meddling in our election. Is this a democracy where the President gets to pick and choose whether or not he will punish a foreign government for interfering in our election?

    You know what that POS Trump is so afraid of…that the election will be overturned in Hillary’s favor and Putin will come down on Trump like an 800 lb. gorilla.

  6. johninPCFL says:

    “In October, the association was addressed at a board meeting at the Trump International Hotel” – of course. Rent rooms at three times the normal rate to grab the Obese Orange Grifters interest, but no violation of the emoluments clause, right? Yeah. No foreigners at this meeting.

  7. “The Forest Service should be advocating for a permanent mining ban, …”

    Yes it should for anyone mature enough in that industry to feel responsible for protecting the environment. Destroying habitats and resources is so abnormal that the GOP and its supporters must all have a tumor or some medical aberration affecting their brains.

    Otherwise, who could be so dismissive and uncaring for their children and grand-children to want to bequeath to them a planet which is bleak and devoid of substantial grasslands and healthy waterways? What sort of abnormal human would want to poison the air and water so that his/her children will have to drink toxins, develop abnormalities, and damage their chromosomes, thus ensuring that these same adults’ future descendants will grow up with hideous deformities and physically-compromised minds.

    The sooner the GOP and most of the current crop of industry leaders are removed from society and positions of authority, the better it would be for America, and by extension better for all across the globe.

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