A new bill to protect the Grand Canyon from uranium mining was introduced by Senator Krysten Sinema, D-Ariz., in the Senate. The Grand Canyon Centennial Protection Act, which passed the House with bipartisan support, will make permanent a ban on new uranium mining on 1 million acres of public land both adjacent and connected to the Grand Canyon.
The bill will “protect, for current and future generations, the watershed, ecosystem, and cultural heritage of the Grand Canyon region in the State of Arizona, and for other purposes,” according to Congress.gov.
Under the Obama administration, 1,562 square miles outside the boundaries of the Grand Canyon was protected from new hard rock mining until 2023, AZ Central reported. This new bill would make that a reality.
In an effort led by Tribal members and leaders along with a coalition of business owners, local government leaders and conservation groups, many are praising Sen. Sinema for her introduction of the legislation.
“Thank you to Senator Sinema for the introduction of legislation to protect one of the country’s greatest treasures, the Grand Canyon,” Laura Dent, Executive Director of Chispa Arizona, said. “This legislation ensures that our nation will protect and respect the sacred lands and watersheds surrounding the Canyon, the preservation of our state’s rich cultural heritage, and the wellbeing of our communities. We thank the indigenous leaders that have protected and fought for the preservation of this region for generations, and we look forward to the Senate bill moving forward so that the protection of the Grand Canyon can become law. ”