Grand Canyon is a national treasure, not a place for uranium mining – by Robert Arnberger and Steve Martin (CNN Opinion – January 9, 2018)

Robert Arnberger was the National Park Service Grand Canyon superintendent from 1994-2000. Steve Martin was the National Park Service Grand Canyon superintendent from 2007-2011. The views expressed in this commentary are their own.

(CNN)The Grand Canyon is a great natural treasure, one of the most recognizable and revered landscapes on earth. And yet, despite its universally beloved status, it is threatened by the Trump administration.

A recently released government report reveals that President Donald Trump and his Cabinet are considering lifting the ban on uranium mining on the federally owned public lands that surround Grand Canyon National Park.

We are former superintendents of Grand Canyon National Park. We managed the park with pride for current and future generations of the American public — the park’s true owners. We are dismayed that the current administration is considering putting one of the most iconic places in our nation, indeed in the world, at risk of contamination from uranium mining.

In December, the 9th US Circuit Court of Appeals upheld the Department of Interior’s 2012 decision to bar new uranium mining on about a million acres of land around the Grand Canyon for 20 years. Although we applaud the court’s decision, the Grand Canyon is still under threat, and the Trump administration’s push for uranium mining poses a serious threat to our beloved public lands.

The court’s ruling does not stop the Trump administration from trying to reverse the 2012 moratorium, as proposed in the US Forest Service document in November. Furthermore, the administration recently announced a new push for increased domestic mining of “critical minerals,” which according to the President’s executive order would likely encompass uranium.

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