Appeals Court Will Hear Two Back-to-Back Grand Canyon Uranium Mining Cases

Dec 14, 2016

Tribes, environmental groups, and mining organizations have fought for years over tapping uranium resources on public land near the Grand Canyon. This week, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals will hear two cases that could affect the future of uranium mining in the area. Arizona Public Radio’s Ryan Heinsius reports.

The Canyon Mine is owned by Energy Fuels Resources and is located on the Kaibab National Forest south of Grand Canyon National Park.
Credit Melissa Sevigny

The Havasupai Tribe and conservationists have challenged the U.S. Forest Services’ decision to allow the Canyon Mine to reopen. It’s located near the South Rim of Grand Canyon National Park. Opponents say it threatens the area’s watershed and cultural sites. The Canyon Mine could be fully operational next year, and is expected to produce more than a million-and-half pounds of uranium.

The second case was brought by the National Mining Association and challenges the 20-year moratorium on new uranium mines near the Grand Canyon. The Obama administration blocked claims within a million acres surrounding the park in 2012. The plaintiffs argue that violated federal environmental law.

The court will hear arguments Thursday morning in San Francisco.