The Obama administration is banning new uranium mining claims around the Grand Canyon. The ban will stay in place for 20 years, the longest period for a ban allowable by law. The move is hailed by conservation groups as a key to the president’s environmental legacy.
“One of the things President (Barack)Obama’s going to be remembered for is protecting the Grand Canyon,” said Jane Danowitz of the Pew Environment Group, a non-profit organization that has pushed for the mining moratorium.
“Despite considerable pushback from the industry and even some in Congress, he didn’t punt and he didn’t blink and he went and issued the longest moratorium that he could under his executive authority,” Danowitz said in a telephone interview.
Grand Canyon tourism generates $687 million in annual revenue, according to the Outdoor Industry Association, and creates more than 12,000 full-time jobs, the University of Northern Arizona said in a 2005 study.
“Do you want mining in the vicinity of a tourist destination that’s visited by 5 million people every year?” Danowitz said. “No, I think is the answer.”