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Uranium
Courthouse News Service, February 12, 2010

Records Sought on Grand Canyon Mining
By Jamie Ross

PHOENIX - The U.S. Bureau of Land Management refuses to disclose records on its management of uranium mines near the Grand Canyon, the Center for Biological Diversity claims in Federal Court. The environmentalists say the BLM allowed uranium mines to resume operations in defiance of a Department of the Interior order.

The environmental group says the Department of the Interior (DOI) ordered on July 21, 2009 that public land in the Grand Canyon watershed be "segregate(d) ... from location and entry ... while DOI considers whether to proceed with a withdrawal of the lands from location and entry under the Mining Law for 20 years in order to 'protect the Grand Canyon watershed from adverse effects of locatable hardrock mineral exploration and mining."

The Center for Biological Diversity requested the records on July 30, 2009 to "better understand and shed light on BLM's administration of federal public lands, environmental, and mining laws and regulations in connection with numerous controversial uranium mines located on sensitive public lands within the Grand Canyon watershed."

The group requested documents on eight uranium mines, and all records discussing the need to prepare National Environmental Policy Act analyses for the mines.

The BLM responded, late, that it had documents on only three of the mines, and when it finally produced some documents, they concerned only one. And the BLM stated, falsely, that the Center for Biological Diversity had modified its request to seek information for only that one mine, according to the complaint.

The Center for Biological Diversity wants to see the records, without delay. It is represented by Amy Atwood of Portland, Ore.

Photo © Paul S. Hamilton