Posts Tagged ‘Grand Canyon’

from HaulNo.org

Energy Fuels Inc. is planning to poison the Grand Canyon including the precious Colorado River. Are we going to let our future be poisoned for thousands of generations by this greedy corporation? We say, “Haul no!”

#HaulNo! is an awareness & action tour that is being planned for Spring 2017 throughout Northern Arizona and Southern Utah along the proposed uranium haul route from Energy Fuel’s Canyon Mine to its White Mesa Mill. Volunteers from organizations such as Diné No Nukes, Clean Up The Mines, Grand Canyon Trust, and concerned community members have joined forces to spread awareness and empower action to ensure that the Grand Canyon, sacred sites, precious water, and our communities are safeguarded from the deadly and toxic threat of uranium contamination.

Click here to read more…

Advertisements

The “Canyon” uranium mine, seen here in the foreground, with Grand Canyon National Park six miles to its north. Photo by Bruce Gordon, Ecoflight.

Forest Service OKs Uranium Mining Without Tribal Consultation or Update to 27-year-old Environmental Review

From The Center for Biological Diversity:

(March 7, 2013) GRAND CANYON NATIONAL PARK— The Havasupai tribe and three conservation groups today sued the U.S. Forest Service over its decision to allow Energy Fuels Resources, Inc. to begin operating a uranium mine near Grand Canyon National Park without initiating or completing formal tribal consultations and without updating an outdated 1986 federal environmental review. The Canyon Mine threatens cultural values, wildlife and endangered species and increases the risk of soil pollution and pollution and depletion of groundwater feeding springs and wells in and near Grand Canyon. The lawsuit alleges violations of environmental, mining, public land and historic preservation laws.

“We regret that the Forest Service is not protecting our sacred site in the Red Butte Traditional Cultural Property from destruction by uranium mining,” said Don Watahomigie, chairman of the Havasupai tribe. “The Havasupai are returning to the federal courts to protect our people, our religion and our water.”

The mine is located within the boundaries of the Red Butte Traditional Cultural Property, which the Forest Service designated in 2010 for its critical religious and cultural importance to several tribes, especially Havasupai. As a “traditional cultural property,” Red Butte is eligible for inclusion on the National Register of Historic Places. The lawsuit alleges that the Forest Service violated the National Historic Preservation Act by failing to undertake any process, as required by the Act, to consult with interested tribes to determine how the adverse impacts of the mine on Red Butte could be avoided or mitigated prior to approving mining.

“The Forest Service should be protecting the Grand Canyon instead of shielding the uranium industry’s dangerous plans from public, tribal, environmental and scientific scrutiny,” said Taylor McKinnon with the Center for Biological Diversity. “Sacrificing water, culture and wildlife for the uranium industry was a bad idea in 1986, doing so now while ignoring 27 years of new information is absurd.”

The mine falls within the 1-million-acre “mineral withdrawal” approved by the Obama administration in January 2012 to protect Grand Canyon’s watershed from new uranium mining impacts. The withdrawal prohibits new mining claims and mine development on old claims lacking “valid existing rights” to mine. In April 2012, the Forest Service made a determination that there were “valid existing rights” for the Canyon mine, and in June it issued a report trying to explain its decision to allow the mine to open without updating the 27-year-old environmental review.

“After 27 years, the Forest Service is still ignoring the significant and harmful impacts of this proposed uranium mine, so near Grand Canyon and Red Butte, and in the heart of an area that provides important wildlife habitat,” said Sandy Bahr, chapter director for Sierra Club’s Grand Canyon Chapter. “The agency should be a steward of these lands and their resources, not a broker for the uranium mining industry.”

The lawsuit also alleges that the Forest Service violated the National Environmental Policy Act for failing to conduct a “supplemental environmental impact statement” to analyze changes in the planned mining and new science and circumstances that have arisen since the mine’s 1986 environmental impact statement. Those include the 2010 designation of the Red Butte Traditional Cultural Property, reintroduction of the endangered California condor, and formal and informal authorizations. Scientific studies published since 1986 demonstrate the potential for rapid aquifer recharge and connectivity between perched and deep aquifers and regional springs and creeks.

“Failure to consider new, comprehensive groundwater studies done during the 1990s for the region south of Grand Canyon is unconscionable,” said Roger Clark of the Grand Canyon Trust. “Why would the Forest Service intentionally ignore information that could prevent permanent harm to springs, which are the sole source of water for Havasupai people and lifeblood for Grand Canyon plants, animals and hikers?”

Plaintiffs in today’s suit include the Havasupai Tribe, Grand Canyon Trust, Center for Biological Diversity and Sierra Club. The suit seeks injunctive relief ceasing all mine operations and enjoining the Forest Service from authorizing or allowing any further mining related activities at the Canyon Mine site pending compliance with the law.

To view a copy of today’s complaint, click here.

Background

The Canyon Mine is located on the Kaibab National Forest six miles south of Grand Canyon National Park. The mine’s original approval in 1986 was the subject of protests and lawsuits by the Havasupai tribe and others objecting to potential uranium mining impacts on regional groundwater, springs, creeks, ecosystems and cultural values associated with Red Butte. Above-ground infrastructure was built in the early 1990s but a crash in uranium prices caused the mine’s closure in 1992 before the shaft or ore bodies could be excavated. Pre-mining exploratory drilling drained groundwater beneath the mine site, eliminating an estimated 1.3 million gallons per year from the region’s springs that are fed by groundwater. A 2010 U.S. Geological Survey report noted that past samples of groundwater beneath the mine exhibited dissolved uranium concentrations in excess of EPA drinking water standards. Groundwater threatened by the mine feeds municipal wells and seeps and springs in Grand Canyon, including Havasu Springs and Havasu Creek. Aquifer Protection Permits issued for the mine by Arizona Department of Environmental Quality do not require monitoring of deep aquifers and do not include remediation plans or bonding to correct deep aquifer contamination. Originally owned by Energy Fuels Nuclear, the mine was purchased by Denison Mines in 1997 and by Energy Fuels Resources Inc., which currently operates the mine, in 2012.

The Center for Biological Diversity filed a lawsuit in federal court this week challenging a 25,000-acre timber sale on the Kaibab National Forest near Grand Canyon’s north rim.

Approved in January, this is the U.S. Forest Service’s fifth attempt to sell old-growth trees and forests in the Jacob Ryan project since 2003. Center appeals blocked two earlier attempts; the Forest Service voluntarily withdrew two others.

“The Forest Service consistently rejects good-faith restoration proposals and pushes logging big, old trees, contrary to its own science,” said Jay Lininger, an ecologist with the Center. “The Jacob Ryan timber sale is the opposite of forest restoration and it shows a need for reform within the agency.”

Today’s lawsuit asserts that the planned sale will remove forest habitat supporting northern goshawks and shirks rules designed to protect this rare and declining woodland raptor. According to a Forest Service report, goshawks are “vulnerable to extirpation or extinction in Arizona.” A source population of goshawks lives on the Kaibab Plateau, where Jacob Ryan is located.

In its last failed attempt to sell old-growth trees at Jacob Ryan, in 2009, the Forest Service admitted violating its rules for logging in goshawk habitat after an appeal from the Center.

Center staff also documented that old-growth trees were marked for cutting in the timber sale, despite agency statements in official planning documents that “yellow-bark” ponderosa pines older than 180 years would be left alone.

“There’s no change in the timber sale,” Lininger said. “Now the Forest Service just admits to wanting to cut down thousands of old-growth trees.”

To download a copy of today’s lawsuit, click here.

Photos of the Jacob Ryan timber sale, including old-growth trees marked for logging by the Forest Service, can be seen and downloaded here.

Canyon Mine Near Red Butte

From Indigenous Action Media:

Comment Deadline: January 14th

Denison Mines Corp., a Canadian corporation has submitted water and air quality permit applications to the Arizona Department of Environmental Quality (ADEQ) in an attempt to operate uranium mines near the Grand Canyon.

Not only do these mines directly threaten the Ecoregion of the Grand Canyon, they further corporate attacks on community health, environment and sacred places.

These mines include the currently operating Arizona 1 Mine and the proposed Pinenut and EZ mines north of the Grand Canyon and the proposed Canyon Mine on the south rim near Red Butte, a site held holy by the Havasupai Nation.

The legacy of uranium mining in the region has been so harmful that the Dine’ (Navajo), Hualapai, and Havasupai Nations have all banned uranium mining and activity on their lands.

US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has documented well water as undrinkable in at least 22 communities on the Dine’ Nation. The EPA states that, “Approximately 30 percent of the Navajo population does not have access to a public drinking water system and may be using unregulated water sources with uranium contamination.”

The Colorado river which, flows through the Grand Canyon, supplies water for drinking and agricultural use for up to 27 million people.

Haul Routes

If all the permits are allowed, up to 12 trucks per day would haul uranium ore from each of the mines to a processing mill in Blanding, Utah.

The haul routes would take uranium ore from the various mines through the communities of Fredonia, Kanab, Williams, Flagstaff, Cameron, Tuba City, and Kayenta.

The ADEQ air quality permits and Department of Transportation regulations would merely require Denison to “cover the haul truck loads with a tarp and maintain the truck beds to ensure that ore does not fall out.” (ADEQ Denison Mines Permitting and Uranium Mining Facts, Questions & Answers November 2010)

Although environmental groups have successfully lobbied the US Secretary of Interior to suspend new uranium claims in a 5 mile buffer zone near the Grand Canyon, the suspension does not include pre-existing claims such as Denison’s.

Today there estimated to be more than 8,000 applications for uranium mining operations in the Grand Canyon region.

TAKE ACTION NOW!

Deadline for public comments is January 14th at 5pm

Send your comments to Arizona Department Of Environmental Quality
Email: tb4@adeq.gov

For more info call toll free: 1800-234-5677

Printed materials including draft permits

Additional information and action:

Center for Biological Diversity’s info and online comment letter

Sierra Club’s info and online comment form

Uranium Mining Begins Near Grand Canyon

Info from the Grand Canyon Trust

Arizona Daily Sun Article: Uranium foes: Where’s the benefit?