Western Caucus and Local Stakeholders Condemn 1.7 Million Acre Grijalva Land Grab & Energy Security Sabotage
On Saturday, February 23rd, Representative Raul Grijalva (AZ-03) is hosting an event outside of his district with extremist environmentalists groups and others in the Grand Canyon. The Southern Arizona Congressman is expected to unveil legislation that seeks to authorize a permanent 1.7 million acre land grab in Northern Arizona and permanently prohibit mining and other multiple-use activities on this massive swath of land.
Chairman Gosar successfully fought of a nearly identical effort during the Obama Administration to unilaterally designative the land in question as a new, massive national monument under the Antiquities Act. This proposal was so extreme and unwarranted that even the Obama Administration failed to act on the request despite significant pressure from enviromental groups. At that time, a scientific poll conducted by Coleman Dahm and Associates found that 71.6% of Arizonans are opposed to the proposed Administrative designation of 1.7 million acres in Northern Arizona as a National Monument. At a field hearing on this land grab proposal in Kingman, Arizona there was significant local and state opposition expressed to this misguided proposal. A link to the field hearing that includes witness testimony, pictures etc. can be found HERE.
This press conference and bill are likely be nearly identical to the press conference and bills Rep. Grijalva held and introduced previously. Click HERE to view more.
The Western Caucus sent two letters to the Trump Administration asking them to investigate political withdrawals by the Obama Administration including the January 2012 political mineral withdrawal of 1,006,545 acres of federal mineral estate in the Arizona Strip for a period of 20 years. The Withdrawal is a 20 year temporary Secretarial action granted under the Federal Land Policy Management Act (FLPMA) and can be overturned (Revoked) under that same authority. We are now 7 years into the Withdrawal.
The breccia pipes that want to be utilized have no direct connection to the land or watersheds in the Grand Canyon. Modern uranium mining doesn’t utilize open pits. The uranium industry, having learned from the mistakes of the go-for-broke Atomic Energy Commission Cold War mining mandate, reclaimed all post 1980 mines to pristine condition. Industry strongly supports EPA cleanup of left-over uranium on Navajo Reservation. Uranium mining of breccia pipes is environmentally sound and reclamation is stellar.
Northern Arizona Uranium Mining began in the late 1940s and celebrated accelerated through the Cold War Atomic Energy boom of the 1950s and 1960s. Economic benefits of mining accrued to Kane County, Garfield County & San Juan County, Washington Counties in Utah as well as Mohave & Coconino counties in Arizona.
Those benefits included hundreds of high wage jobs ($75,000–125,00) (the best in the region) directly from mining but also the multiplier industries feeding the mining industry; Auto dealers, tire stores, hardware stores, defense etc. Historically, industry has hired many Navajo miners and truck drivers which will offset the loss of Navajo Generating station jobs.
The Arizona Wilderness Act of 1984 and the agreement between environmental Groups (Grand Canyon Trust) and the Uranium Industry resulted in 1.2 million acres of Wilderness areas being designated as buffer zones to the Grand Canyon National Park and a compromise on another 3 million acres of Arizona land addressed in the bill in exchange for allowing livestock grazing and uranium mining outside of those areas. Senators Goldwater-R, DeConcini-D, Garn-R and Hatch-R, along with Reps Mo Udall-D, John McCain-R, Bob Stump-R and Jim Hansen-R signed off on the compromise. President Ronald Reagan signed the Arizona bill into law on September 28, 1984. The Grand Canyon National Park is also already protected by the Grand Canyon Protection Act, Clean Air Act and Clean Water Act, as well as well as other protections through its designation as Grand Canyon National Park, and from the nearby 1.01 million acre Grand Canyon-Parashant National Monument that was designated under the Antiquities Act against the will of many locals and representatives. The proposed national monument is miles away from the actual Grand Canyon itself. Any uranium operation will also have to comply with all state and federal environmental laws and go through the National Environmental Policy Act.
Furthermore, Uranium and depleted uranium are critical to the U.S. military and our national security. The U.S. military uses depleted uranium in armor plating for tanks, Phalanx gun systems, armor-piercing munitions and cruise missiles, naval propulsion reactors, as well as A-10s, Harriers and other military and civilian aircraft. The U.S. Navy cannot maintain its global presence nor maintain its nuclear deterrent against countries like Russia without uranium.
In 1986, the United states produced 100% of the uranium ore used in U.S. domestic nuclear reactors. Today in 2018, 3% is produced domestically with virtually all of the remaining fuel for domestic reactors produced in Kazakhstan, under heavy Russian influence. The U.S. desperately needs domestic uranium given this high 97% import penetration into domestic market. The U.S. Navy is fit-to-be-tied over the prospect of being dependent on Putin for uranium. The situation is untenable.
Americas’ 98 nuclear power plants provide clean energy while generating electricity for one of every five U. S. homes and businesses. Nuclear energy has unmatched reliability in the U. S. electrical system. In 2014, as has been the case every year for the past decade, the nuclear industry’s average capacity fact (a measure of efficiency) was an electric sector leading 91.7 percent.