The Mojave County Board of Supervisors asked Secretary of Interior Ryan Zinke this week to consider lifting a 20-year uranium mining ban on public lands in northern Arizona.
The supervisors said in letters to Zinke that mining would restore jobs and pump money into the local economy, and asked the Interior Department to consider the status of the ban while he reviews 27 national monuments, including Grand Canyon-Parashant.
“This ban took away much needed growth and jobs from our area,” one of the letters said. “We are requesting that your office look into this ban and if necessary start a process with public comments to withdraw the ban.” The board endorsed the letter Monday on a unanimous vote. The final version of the letter was mailed Wednesday.
“The jobs pay real well,” said County Supervisor Buster Johnson. Arizona Strip uranium is considered high grade, and the mines could potentially bring millions into the local economy, as well as into Utah.
“You have that kind of money sitting in the ground and you think, somebody’s got to use that,” he said. The Arizona Strip’s potential for uranium drew thousands of speculators to the region until then-Secretary of Interior Ken Salazar banned new mines while researchers looked at their impact on groundwater.
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