The White House previously announced that the President Biden would make climate change and his environmental agenda a focus of his stops on Arizona tour.
US President Joe Biden is leaning toward designating a vast area near the Grand Canyon as a national monument to safeguard it from uranium mining, a media report said.
“Leaders of local tribes and environmentalists have spent years lobbying to protect areas near the park from potential uranium mining, which they say would threaten aquifers and water supplies,” Xinhua news agency quoted The Washington Post report as saying citing sources.
“They have asked Washington to double the protected area around the canyon by including 1.1 million acres of public lands in a Baaj Nwaavjo I’tah Kukveni Grand Canyon National Monument.”
According to the report, Biden will embark on a tour through Arizona next week.
The White House previously announced that the President would make climate change and his environmental agenda a focus of his stops on the tour.
Federal officials have started telling tribal and environmental groups to be available for a potential Grand Canyon announcement early next week, which would fall during Biden’s travel, said the report.
“No decisions have been made,” White House spokesman Abdullah Hasan said in an email.
“But I can tell you that President Biden has conserved more land and water in his first year than any president since JFK, and his climate protection record is unmatched.”
Uranium deposits sit deep within sandstone, siltstone, and mudstone layers across the US Southwest.
In the Grand Canyon region, uranium ore is found in geologic features called breccia pipes.
Uranium mining near Grand Canyon National Park began in the 1950s at Orphan Mine. At least eight uranium mines have operated near the park, including the active Canyon Mine.
Since 2012, a 20-year mineral withdrawal has blocked new efforts to mine uranium on 1 million acres of public lands surrounding the Grand Canyon.
But the relief is temporary.
As of May 2022, there were still nearly 600 mining claims on national forest and other public lands around the Grand Canyon.