Shanker supports halt to uranium mining in Grand Canyon area
FLAGSTAFF, ARIZ. - Howard Shanker, Democratic Candidate for Arizona CD-1, announced his full support for the emergency declaration called for in Congress last Thursday to protect areas near the Grand Canyon. The declaration was introduced by Rep. Raúl M. Grijalva, (D-AZ) Chairman of the Natural Resources Subcommittee on National Parks, Forests and Public Lands. The emergency declaration would withdraw public lands adjacent to the Grand Canyon National Park from uranium mining activities.
"I fully support Rep. Grijalva's move to protect the Grand Canyon and surrounding lands from uranium mining," said Shanker. "Grijalva has long been a leader for protecting the Grand Canyon, which is a priceless national treasure. History has shown that uranium mining can be hugely detrimental to surrounding communities, and can contaminate groundwater. This kind of mining must be done responsibly, and it is fundamentally irresponsible to do this adjacent to the Grand Canyon."
Shanker, an attorney, has a history of protecting Arizona's natural resources. Eight years ago he won a case that stopped the federal government from completing a land exchange that would have allowed for large-scale commercial development on the southern edge of the Grand Canyon.
Chairman Grijalva submitted a resolution to the Natural Resources Committee pursuant to the Federal Land Policy and Management Act of 1976 (FLPMA) (public Law 94-579;43 U.S.C. 1701-1782. Under act 43 U.S.C.1714 (e), or generally referred to as section 204(e). FLPMA allows for emergency withdrawals when "extraordinary measures must be taken to preserve values that would otherwise be lost."
"I feel compelled to submit this request for emergency action due to the immediate and grave threat to the Grand Canyon National Park, the crowned jewel of our national park system," stated Chairman Grijalva. "The Colorado River and its tributaries carved this natural cathedral known as the Grand Canyon, and its waters now support one of the largest desert civilizations in world history, including Tucson, Phoenix, Las Vegas, Los Angeles and San Diego."
Chairman Grijalva's request mirrors previously successful efforts by the former committee Chairman and Arizona Congressman, Morris K. Udall to protect public land.
"We cannot wait while uranium mining claims continue to be filed and the Bush Administration continues to use the exclusionary clause to allow uranium mining exploration and eventual mining operations within the Kaibab National Forest," Grijalva added.
Said Shanker, "I look forward to continuing my support for Rep. Grijalva in these important matters when I get to Congress."
Shanker hopes to serve on the Natural Resources Committee. Rep. Grijalva has endorsed Shanker and called him "a champion of the people."