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Agency eyes new leases for uranium mining near Grand Canyon

November 01, 2017 - 2:58 PM

PHOENIX - Federal officials are proposing to lift the Obama administration's ban on issuing new mining leases for mining uranium from public land outside Grand Canyon National Park in northern Arizona.

The Forest Service's announcement Wednesday of the proposed change responds to President Donald Trump's executive order for federal agencies to eliminate numerous restrictions on energy production.

Nuclear power plants use uranium as fuel.

Then-Interior Secretary Ken Salazar in 2012 banned new hard rock mining for 20 years on more than 1 million acres (.4 million hectares) of national forest and Bureau of Land Management land near the Grand Canyon.

The 2012 ban was praised by conservationists who now are decrying the Forest Service's move, saying that past uranium mining in the region has polluted soils, washes, aquifers and drinking water.

News from © The Associated Press, 2017
The Associated Press

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