Latest: Supreme Court upholds Grand Canyon uranium mining ban

A twenty-year moratorium on uranium extraction in northern Arizona will stand.


In, 2017, the Havasupai tribe convened at Red Butte, or “Clenched-fist Mountain," for an intertribal spiritual gathering to protect their Grand Canyon homeland from uranium mining contamination.
Jake Hoyungowa/Grand Canyon Trust


In northern Arizona, near the Grand Canyon, some of the nation’s richest and easiest-to-mine uranium deposits can be found. In 2012, in response to a rush of mining claims, Obama’s Interior Department put a moratorium on any new uranium mining within a 1 million-acre area. The Trump administration and some Western congressional Republicans have been pushing to lift that ban, despite local opposition (“A new era of uranium mining near the Grand Canyon?HCN, 6/12/18). 


In early October, the Supreme Court upheld the 20-year ban on new uranium mining near the Grand Canyon. Last year, an appeals court determined that the moratorium was indeed legal, and the Supreme Court refused to hear a challenge from the mining industry. Environmentalists and local tribes, including the Hualapai and Havasupai, fear that uranium mining could contaminate the Colorado River, which runs through the Grand Canyon, along with its tributaries. Now, they’re worried that President Donald Trump will take executive action to dismantle the ban.

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