Washington D.C – Republicans are furious with Interior Secretary Ken Salazar's decision to ban new uranium mining on the Arizona Strip - the one million acres of land near the Grand Canyon. That ban could last for two decades. Arizona Republican Senator John McCain says Interior officials are disregarding legislative agreements from the past.
"It's obvious that they are in violation of the 1984 agreement that was made between all of us - it's outrageous and disgraceful."
Arizona Republican Congressman Trent Franks says their bill could create around three thousand jobs in the economically depressed region.
"Locking up a million acres of mining land in northern Arizona ignores the economic realities of the state and will do physical harm to the area."
Environmentalists argue new uranium mining will contaminate water in the region and hurt the region's active tourism industry. Past efforts to change existing agreements by lawmakers on both sides of the aisle have gone nowhere.
For Arizona Public Radio, I'm Matt Laslo in Washington.