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Report shows effects of uranium mining near Grand Canyon
by Tribune Staff
Jul 27, 2011 | 501 views | 0 0 comments | 1 1 recommendations | email to a friend | print
WASHINGTON — Thousands of new mining claims threaten to destroy the Grand Canyon’s stunning landscape and pollute the Colorado River – a major source of drinking water for Nevada – according to a report released Tuesday by Environment Nevada entitled “Grand Canyon at Risk: Uranium Mining Doesn’t Belong Near Our National Treasures.”

“Americans love the Grand Canyon,” said Anna Aurilio, Washington Director of Environment Nevada. “We don’t want to let toxic uranium mining trash our national treasure and pollute the water that we drink.”

The canyon already bears the scars of past mining activity, according to the report. Hikers in Grand Canyon National Park cannot drink the water from four different radioactively contaminated streams, including one flowing down the canyon’s south rim near the abandoned Orphan Mine – located only a few steps away from a popular vista point. Mining around the canyon has left a toxic trail of dangerously radioactive soil and polluted aquifers, saddling taxpayers with millions in cleanup costs.

“The drinking water of millions of people in Nevada and other parts of the West could be jeopardized by uranium mining,” Aurilio said. “Thousands of people living in neighboring states already suffer from major health problems from uranium mining. Contaminated air and water has led to cancer, anemia, arthritis and birth defects.”

Uranium mining near the Colorado River would threaten drinking water supplies for 25 million people living in Las Vegas, Phoenix and Los Angeles, the report says. The mining industry has staked more than one thousand mining claims within five miles of Grand Canyon National Park, threatening the canyon’s stunning landscape, fragile ecosystems and families’ health, according to Environment Nevada.

The report is available on the Environment Nevada website at www.environmentnevada.org/reports.
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