House Appropriations Committee Fails to Remove Rider that Could Put the Grand Canyon at Risk

 
PRESS RELEASE
  FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Date:   July 12, 2011
Contact:   Craig Obey, Senior Vice President for Government Affairs, National Parks Conservation Association, W:(202) 454-3392, C:(202) 669-9689, cobey@npca.org
Jeff Billington, Senior Media Relations Manager, National Parks Conservation Association, (202) 419-3717, jbillington@npca.org


House Appropriations Committee Fails to Remove Rider that Could Put the Grand Canyon at Risk

Despite Opposition from Water Authorities, Arizona’s Largest Newspaper and Local Native Tribes, Amendment to Strip Rider from Interior Department Appropriations Bill is Rejected 26-23

Statement by: Craig Obey, Senior Vice President for Government Affairs

“Despite a valiant effort by Rep. Jim Moran of Virginia to remove an ill-conceived rider from the Interior Appropriations bill, and the bipartisan support his motion received, the House Appropriations Committee voted to put mining special interests above the millions of visitors to the Grand Canyon. The rider, if enacted into law, would prevent the Interior Department from completing the work necessary to protect Grand Canyon National Park and the Colorado River from nearby uranium mining development and potential associated contamination.

“The rider was slapped onto the Interior funding bill directly in response to an announcement by Interior Secretary Ken Salazar, after an exhaustive and thorough environmental review process, who said he intends to protect one million acres of federal lands around the Grand Canyon from uranium mining. The committee’s action invalidates a careful process that included public review and comment by some 300,000 Americans. Salazar’s action would protect the Grand Canyon for future generations and help guarantee the quality of Colorado River water for downstream uses.  By refusing to remove this rider, the Appropriations Committee has put all of that at risk.

 “Grand Canyon National Park is an iconic American treasure visited by millions of people each year.  The Grand Canyon is an enormous asset to the Arizona economy, including an estimated $687 million in revenue and more than 12,000 full-time jobs according to a study by Northern Arizona University.  It should be honored, not put at risk for any reason, let alone this one.  With 2,200 uranium mining claims within 10 miles of the Canyon, Congress can either choose mining interests or the generations of Americans who cherish this amazing place, the tourism industry and jobs that depend on it, and the millions of people who rely on the Colorado River as a clean source of drinking water.”

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