U.S. Expected to Extend Moratorium on New Uranium Mining Near Grand Canyon

After nearly two years of discussion over whether or not uranium mining would be allowed near the Grand Canyon, Interior Secretary Ken Salazar is expected to announce approval of a 20-year moratorium on new uranium mining claims in a million-acre buffer zone around the Grand Canyon, The New York Times reports.

The Times says the decision "would allow a small number of existing uranium and other hard rock mining operations in the region to continue while barring the new claims.Secretary Salazar suspended new uranium claims on public lands surrounding the Grand Canyon for two years, overturning a Bush administration policy that encouraged thousands of new claims when the price of uranium soared in 2006 and 2007."

Contrary to talk about energy independence, foreign interests would benefit from much of the mining that would take place in the area. Those interests include, according to The Times, Rosatom, Russia’s state atomic energy corporation.

The announcement is expected Monday afternoon at an event related to conservation of the Grand Canyon in Washington, DC.

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