Monday, January 9, 2012

Reason #106: Wait, There's Uranium in the Grand Canyon?

In one of those moves that you have to be a cartoon villain to oppose, Interior Secretary Ken Salazar announced today that the Obama administration has banned uranium mining on more than one million acres of land surrounding the Grand Canyon for the next twenty years - the longest ban they're able to enact.

Naturally, Republicans and the (gasp) National Mining Association are decrying the ban as a job-killer, calling it a "power grab" and an "ideologically-driven energy policy". Leaving aside entirely the possibility that mining could pollute the water supply for 25 million area residents, which is the primary stated reason for the ban - it's the Grand fucking Canyon! Is being ideologically driven to protect the Grand Canyon a bad thing all of a sudden?

I will allow that there are obviously potential mining jobs that won't exist due to the ban (though keeping the area a pristine tourist destination is good for jobs as well). But is there any natural resourse in existence that we're not willing to plunder for the sake of a few jobs? This isn't oil rigs off the coast, or a pipeline way out in the Alaskan tundra - it's the Grand. Canyon. Deal with it.

Opponents do have 90 days to challenge the ban. They have yet to indicate that they'll do so, but nothing would surprise me at this point.

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