Emergency House Resolution Bans Uranium Mining, Exploration Near Grand Canyon

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As Republican members boycotted the vote in protest, the Democrats of the House Natural Resources Committee Wednesday adopted an emergency resolution that requires the U.S. Secretary of the Interior to withdraw perhaps as much 1,068,908 acres of federal land near the Grand Canyon National Park from any new uranium mining for up to the next three years.

As Republican members boycotted the vote in protest, the Democrats of the House Natural Resources Committee Wednesday adopted an emergency resolution that requires the U.S. Secretary of the Interior to withdraw perhaps as much 1,068,908 acres of federal land near the Grand Canyon National Park from any new uranium mining for up to the next three years. After Republicans left the meeting room, the Natural Resources Committee voted 20 to 2 to adopt the resolution.

No copy of the resolution was made available to Mineweb by committee staff as of deadline early Thursday. The resolution was also not posted on the committee website or on the Thomas Library of Congress website. However, H.R. 5583, legislation which was submitted to Congress by Rep. Raul Grijalva, D-Arizona, on March 11, specified that 1,068,908 acres of federal land near the Grand Canyon National Park will be withdrawn from all forms of location, entry and patent under mining laws.

Grijalva, Chairman of the House Subcommittee on Natural Parks, Forest and Public Lands, announced in a news release that he had introduced on June 19 the emergency resolution adopted by the House committee Wednesday. On June 19, he declared, "I feel compelled to submit this request for emergency action due to the grave and immediate threat to the Grand Canyon National Park, the crowned jewel of our national park system."

"We cannot wait while uranium claims continued to be filed and the Bush Administration continues to use the exclusionary clause to allow uranium mining exploration and eventual mining operations within public lands in close proximity to the Grand Canyon National Park."

Under this emergency clause, when the Secretary of the Interior determines that an emergency exists or when either of the two congressional committees specified in section 204 of the Federal Land Policy and Management Act of 1976 (FLMPA) notifies the Secretary that an emergency exists, the Secretary must immediately make a withdrawal which shall be limited in scope and duration to the emergency.

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