Ban on mining claims near Grand Canyon challenged

Jul 11 2011 - 2:39pm

FLAGSTAFF, Ariz. -- Language in a bill to fund the Interior Department for another year would put an end to a ban on new mining claims near the Grand Canyon.

Arizona Congressman Jeff Flake says Interior Secretary Ken Salazar's decision to enact the temporary ban is overstepping and hurts Arizona's economy.

Flake added the language in the bill that goes before the House Appropriations Committee on Tuesday.

The temporary ban on new mining claims covers more than 1 million acres around the Grand Canyon. It is set to expire in December.

Salazar says the preferred alternative in an environmental assessment due out later this year will be to segregate the land for 20 years.

Salazar says he's concerned that mining operations could contaminate water sources in and around the canyon.


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