Trump administration signals support for uranium mining that could touch Grand Canyon – by Miranda Green (The Hill – June 12, 2019)

The Trump administration is signaling a renewed push to consider uranium mining near the Grand Canyon, a move that would undoubtedly ignite a political fight involving environmentalists and the mining industry.

President Trump’s decision to declare uranium a critical mineral for national security purposes, coupled with a Commerce Department recommendation to mine reserves of a key component to nuclear weapons, has environmentalists worried that the reversal of an Obama-era ban on mining near the cherished national park is imminent.

“It’s not a secret that uranium mining companies have pined after the Grand Canyon for a long time,” said Amber Reimondo, energy program director at Grand Canyon Trust. “The last time there was a uranium price spike in 2007, over 10,000 mining claims were filed.”

Critics question the timing of the potential reversal: The Grand Canyon is nearing its peak visitation period in the summer months, and the price of uranium is at its lowest level in more than a decade. They also argue that the recent developments underscore the close relationship between the uranium mining industry and the administration.

Opening up mining near the Grand Canyon would also have political implications for 2020, particularly with Arizona becoming a battleground in races for both the White House and control of the Senate. So far, Democrats have sided with environmentalists in their opposition to mining in the area, while Republicans point to potential for job creation.

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