A flight over the Grand Canyon with Grand Canyon Trust and members of the House Natural Resource Committee took a film crew over the canyon and looked at existing and proposed uranium mines for a film about uranium threats to the Grand Canyon and legislation aimed at protecting the area from further development.
In 2012, the secretary of the interior put a temporary stop to uranium exploration by issuing a 20-year ban on new uranium mines on one million acres of public lands surrounding the Grand Canyon. The ban gives scientists time to study the risks and potential impacts on scarce groundwater sources and communities of plants, animals and people. There are still 800 active mining claims on national forest and other public lands around the Grand Canyon, but legislation is working its way through Congress to permanently stop new uranium mining around the park. On the 100th anniversary of Grand Canyon National Park, Rep. Raúl Grijalva introduced the Grand Canyon Centennial Protection Act, which would make the current temporary mining ban around Grand Canyon National Park permanent.
The Grand Canyon is the spiritual and cultural homeland for several Native American tribes including the Havasupai people, whose name means "people of the blue-green water." The Havasupai live deep within the canyon walls and rely on a spring-fed creek that runs through their village to drink, cook, and irrigate fields of corn and alfalfa, as well as other ceremonial and cultural uses.
The Tribe's sole source of water is jeopardized by the operation of Canyon Mine and potential new uranium mines in the region.
Grassroots support was crucial in securing the 20-year ban on mining and will be key to permanent protection for water, communities and public lands around the Grand Canyon in the future.