The Obama administration has decided to ban new mining claims affecting a million acres near the Grand Canyon, an area known to be rich in high-grade uranium ore reserves.
In doing so, the administration cast aside pressure from congressional Republicans and mining industry figures. Interior Secretary Ken Salazar announced a 20-year ban on new mining claims on public land surrounding the Grand Canyon at an event Monday afternoon in Washington.
Salazar on two previous occasions had imposed temporary bans on new mining claims. On Monday, he said uranium remains an important part of a comprehensive energy strategy. But Salazar also said the Grand Canyon is a national treasure that must be protected.