Arrow-right Camera
The Spokesman-Review Newspaper

The Spokesman-Review Newspaper The Spokesman-Review

Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
Partly Cloudy Night 53° Partly Cloudy
News >  Nation/World

Mining ban near Arizona park upheld

Associated Press

FLAGSTAFF, Ariz. – Former Interior Secretary Ken Salazar did not abuse his discretion or violate any laws in prohibiting new hard-rock mining claims on 1 million acres near the Grand Canyon, a federal judge ruled Tuesday.

Salazar announced the 20-year ban in 2012 for an area rich in high-grade uranium reserves outside Grand Canyon National Park. Mining industry groups and a Chino Valley resident quickly sued, saying the ban was irresponsible public policy and violated federal laws.

U.S. District Judge David Campbell ruled in favor of the federal government and conservationists, who argued that it will protect water flowing through the canyon from potential contamination. Campbell said he could find no legal principle that prevents the Interior Department from withdrawing 5,000 acres or more from new mining claims for up to 20 years without approval of Congress, even if he was erring on the side of caution in “protecting a national treasure.”

Representatives of industry groups said they are reviewing the decision. The plaintiffs have 60 days to appeal.

One of the plaintiffs, Gregory Yount of Chino Valley, said he is baffled by Campbell’s decision. He said the Interior Department vastly overstated the potential risk of effects from mining on the area’s water resources and to American Indian tribes.

The Spokesman-Review Newspaper

Local journalism is essential.

Give directly to The Spokesman-Review's Northwest Passages community forums series -- which helps to offset the costs of several reporter and editor positions at the newspaper -- by using the easy options below. Gifts processed in this system are not tax deductible, but are predominately used to help meet the local financial requirements needed to receive national matching-grant funds.

Active Person

Subscribe to the Coronavirus newsletter

Get the day’s latest Coronavirus news delivered to your inbox by subscribing to our newsletter.