Home
Donate Sign up for e-network
CENTER for BIOLOGICAL DIVERSITY Because life is good
ABOUT ACTION PROGRAMS SPECIES NEWSROOM PUBLICATIONS SUPPORT

Content on this page requires a newer version of Adobe Flash Player.

Get Adobe Flash player

ACTION TIMELINE

June 4, 2001 – The Center filed a Freedom of Information Act request seeking details on the plans of mining giant Asarco/Grupo Mexico, which was seeking to remove more than 400 acres from the Ironwood Forest National Monument to use for dumping mining surface rock.

June 15, 2001 – After months of delay, the Bureau of Land Management upheld a court order to protect bighorn sheep in the Coyote Mountains from threats posed by off-road vehicles and mining.

July 12, 2001 – The Center and allies appealed a land-exchange proposal by Asarco and the U.S. Bureau of Land Management that would give the mining company 10,976 acres of public land to facilitate the expansion of the Ray mine, an open-pit copper mine east of Phoenix and adjacent to the White Canyon Wilderness Area.

August 16, 2001 – The Center appealed the state of New Mexico Mining and Minerals Division’s approval of a permit renewal application for the Fence Lake Coal Strip Mine, proposed by Arizona-based company Salt River Project. The company planned to mine more than 80 million tons of coal from the site, which would potentially drain Zuni Salt Lake — a site sacred to a number of indigenous peoples.

September 18, 2001 – The Center, Western Land Project, and the Sierra Club Grand Canyon chapter sued the Bureau of Land Management for approving the land exchange that would allow the Asarco mining company to expand its Ray mine on 10,976 acres of Arizona land.

December 10, 2001 – Thanks to the Center’s suit to protect the California Desert Conservation Area, the Bureau of Land Management acted to protect endangered Peninsular bighorn sheep by seasonally closing two environmentally harmful roads in the Coyote Mountains. 

January 22, 2002 – After four months of negotiations, the Center announced its disappointment that mining company Asarco had refused to protect bighorn sheep habitat in its illegal mining operations on the Ironwood Forest National Monument.

July 16, 2002 – Pueblo leaders, intertribal allies, and the Zuni Salt Lake Coalition — including the Center — announced broad opposition to the Fence Lake coal strip mine, proposed by the Arizona-based Salt River Project for an area near Zuni Salt Lake. 

February 25, 2003 – A federal judge heard arguments brought by the Center and allies against the proposed Ray mine land exchange between the Bureau of Land Management and Asarco. 

June 9, 2003 – Thanks to pressure from the Center for Biological Diversity and allies, the Bureau of Land Management ordered Grupo Mexico/Asarco to remove an illegal pipeline, powerline, and road that crossed the Ironwood Forest National Monument.

August 6, 2003 – In an astounding victory for environmental protection and preservation of sacred sites, Salt River Project announced it would abandon its plans to develop the Fence Lake mine. 

January 31, 2006 – The Bush administration entirely omitted consideration of global warming in a proposal to open vast areas of ecologically sensitive public lands in Colorado, Utah, and Wyoming to tar sands and oil shale development. 

February 6, 2007 – The Center, as part of a coalition including the Natural Resources Defense Council, the Black Mesa Water Coalition, and the Sierra Club, challenged the Office of Surface Mining’s assertion that reopening the Black Mesa coal mine would have only minimal environmental impacts, despite the fact that it would withdraw more than 1 billion gallons of scarce drinking water.

February 11, 2008 – Detailing numerous violations of environmental law, the Center, along with the Grand Canyon Sierra Club and Grand Canyon Trust, sent a letter to the Kaibab National Forest urging it to withdrawal of its approval of 39 new uranium exploration drilling projects by VANE Minerals adjacent to Grand Canyon National Park. 

March 12, 2008 – Receiving no response to our letter, the Center and allies filed a lawsuit against the Forest Service challenging the approval of VANE Minerals’ new Grand Canyon uranium-drilling sites.

March 28, 2008 – At a congressional hearing, the Center strongly endorsed legislation sponsored by Representative Raúl Grijalva, D-Ariz., to ban new mining claims and protect watersheds on 1 million acres near Grand Canyon National Park.

April 5, 2008 – In response to our litigation against the Kaibab National Forest, a federal judge issued an injunction halting VANE Minerals’ uranium exploration on public lands within a few miles of Grand Canyon National Park. The case was later settled as a “complete victory” for the Center and its partners.

June 20, 2008 – The Center applauded Rep. Raúl Grijalva for formally submitting an emergency Congressional resolution to halt uranium exploration and development across 1 million acres of public lands surrounding Grand Canyon National Park.

June 25, 2008 – The U.S. House of Representative’s Committee on Natural Resources voted 20-2 in favor of a resolution requiring the interior secretary to withdraw public lands surrounding Grand Canyon from new uranium claims and exploration.

July 31, 2008 – The Center and its allies filed suit in federal court against the Department of Energy for its decision to expand uranium mining on public land near the Dolores River Canyon.

September 26, 2008 – The Center, Grand Canyon Trust, and the Sierra Club Grand Canyon Chapter reached a settlement agreement with the U.S. Forest Service and VANE Minerals that withdrew approval for uranium drilling for national forest land immediately south of Grand Canyon National Park. The settlement also required full environmental review for any new efforts to drill at the site.

September 29, 2008 – The Center, Grand Canyon Trust, and Sierra Club Grand Canyon Chapter filed suit against Interior Secretary Dirk Kempthorne for authorizing uranium exploration near Grand Canyon National Park in defiance of  the June 25 congressional resolution and emergency withdrawal.

December 4, 2008 – In response to our lawsuit and as a means to circumvent June’s congressional resolution, the Bureau of Land Management acted to eliminate a regulation requiring the Bureau to comply with congressional emergency resolutions in the first place.

January 22, 2009 – A diverse coalition of tribal and conservation groups, including the Center, appealed a permit allowing Peabody Energy to reopen the controversial Black Mesa coal mine in northeastern Arizona. 

January 22, 2009 – Rep. Raul Grijalva reintroduced the Grand Canyon Watersheds Protection Act to permanently protect 1 million acres of public lands and watersheds near the Grand Canyon from uranium mining.

February 16, 2009 – The Center announced its disappointment in the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals’ decision to allow mountaintop-removal coal mining to proceed without full consideration of its environmental impacts.

March 24, 2009 – The Center applauded the Environmental Protection Agency’s announcement to stop issuing new mountaintop-removal coal mining permits so that water-quality impacts could be fully assessed.

April 15, 2009 – The Center, along with the Colorado Environmental Coalition, the Information Network for Responsible Mining, and Center for Native Ecosystems, notified the Department of Energy and Bureau of Land Management that we intended to add claims of Endangered Species Act violations to a pending 2007 lawsuit. The lawsuit challenged the Department’s decision to continue and expand its 42-square-mile uranium leasing program on public lands around the Dolores and San Miguel rivers in western Colorado.

May 5, 2009 – In documents obtained by the Center, it was revealed that the Bureau of Land Management, in flagrant disregard of both Congress and environmental laws, had continued to authorize new uranium claims in Grand Canyon adjacent areas.

May 8, 2009 – The Center and allies amended our lawsuit challenging authorization of new uranium exploration near the Grand Canyon by the Bureau of Land Management and Interior. Our lawsuit was amended to include challenges to additional newly authorized uranium exploration projects near Grand Canyon National Park.

July 14, 2009 – The Center announced support for the Obama administration’s proposal to end the use of nationwide permits to allow mountaintop-removal coal mining, but recognized that it was only a small step toward stopping the ecologically disastrous practice.

July 25-26, 2009 – The Center cosponsored a massive rally, hosted by Grand Canyon’s the Havasupai tribe, to raise awareness about protecting the canyon from uranium development. It was the largest environmental demonstration on the Colorado Plateau in recent history.

July 20, 2009 – In a victory for the Center and the environment, the Obama administration enacted a two-year “segregation” temporarily placing 1 million acres of public lands surrounding Grand Canyon National Park off limits to new mining claims, exploration, and development of existing claims without valid existing rights.  

August 26, 2009 – The Department of the Interior announced it would evaluate a proposed “mineral withdrawal” prohibiting for up to 20 years new mining claims, as well as the exploration on or mining of existing claims without valid existing rights, across nearly 1 million acres of public lands surrounding Grand Canyon National Park.

September 8, 2009 – The Center, along with the Grand Canyon Trust and Sierra Club, filed notice of intent to sue the Bureau of Land Management over Endangered Species Act violations connected to Grand Canyon uranium mining.

September 11, 2009 – The Center applauded the Environmental Protection Agency’s decision to hold back 79 mountaintop-removal coal mining permits in Appalachia for further review.

September 11, 2009 – The Center strongly opposed the nomination of Joseph Pizarchik as director of the Office of Surface Mining Reclamation and Enforcement because of his dismal environmental record.

September 14. 2009 – In a critical victory for the Center and allies, a federal court ruled that the Bureau of Land Management had violated federal laws in agreeing to trade public lands with Asarco as part of an expansion of its massive Ray copper mine in Arizona.

June 16, 2010 – A coalition of environmental groups, including the Center, called on the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to establish, for the first time ever, limits on air pollution from coal mines throughout the United States.

September 24, 2010 – The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals upheld a decision halting the Bureau of Land Management’s plans for a land exchange with mining corporation Asarco LLC. The original decision resulted from the Center’s 2001 lawsuit against the exchange.

January 14, 2011 – The Center and four other conservation groups filed a lawsuit against Minnesota’s Iron Range Resources Board, challenging a $4 million loan to PolyMet Mining Company for a large open-pit sulfide mine that had yet to get environmental approvals.

January 18, 2011 – The Wisconsin Resources Protection Council, the Center for Biological Diversity and Laura Gauger filed a Clean Water Act citizen suit against Flambeau Mining Company over its partially reclaimed Flambeau Mine near Ladysmith, Wis.

March 22, 2011 – An unorthodox change in state law exempting Iron Range Resources from Minnesota’s environmental review requirements forced the Center and allies to dismiss a lawsuit against the agency. The suit had been filed to challenge a premature and illegal loan by Iron Range Resources to PolyMet Mining Company to pursue the state’s first open-pit sulfide mine without having obtained the required environmental approvals.

July 26, 2011 – In response to a lawsuit from the Center and allies, the Department of Energy agreed to conduct an in-depth analysis of the environmental impacts of uranium mining and milling in southwestern Colorado near the Dolores and San Miguel rivers.

Photo courtesy Wikimedia commons/Stephen Codrington