Monthly Archives: June 2011

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Revised map of the proposed uranium transport routes through the Navajo Nation

Please check out the revised map of the proposed uranium transport routes through the Navajo Nation to the White Mesa mill in Blanding, UT.

US EPA 60 day comment period ends 7/1/2011 on Identifying Waters Protected by the Clean Air Act

EPA and USACE Seek Comment on “Draft Guidance on Identifying Waters Protected by the Clean Water Act” On May 2, 2011, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) jointly published in the Federal Register their proposal to issue clarifying guidance for determining which waters and wetlands are protected under the Clean Water Act (CWA) programs. During a 60-day comment period, the agencies are soliciting comments on the proposed draft guidance from interested parties. The agencies are interested in whether the proposed guidance would result in any disproportionate adverse effects or benefits for environmental justice communities. The comment period ends July 1How to Comment: EPA and the Corps are accepting comment on the draft guidance until July 1, 2011. The draft guidance and the May 2, 2011 Federal Register notice announcing it are available in docket EPA-HQ-OW-2011-0409 at

Please submit your comments, identified by docket identification number EPA-HQ-OW-2011-0409, by one of the following methods:

  • Online: Follow the online instructions for submitting comments.
  • Email: Include “EPA-HQ-OW-2011-0409” in the subject line of the message.
  • Mail: Send the original and three copies of your comments to:

    Water Docket
    Environmental Protection Agency, Mail Code 2822T
    1200 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW, Washington, DC 20460
    Attention: Docket ID No. EPA-HQ-OW-2011-0409

  • Hand Delivery/Courier: Deliver your comments to:

    EPA Docket Center
    EPA West, Room 3334
    1301 Constitution Avenue, NW., Washington, DC 20460
    Attention Docket ID No. EPA-HQ-OW-2011-0409

    Such deliveries are accepted only during the Docket’s normal hours of operation, 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Monday through Friday, excluding legal holidays. Special arrangements should be made for deliveries of boxed information. The telephone number for the Water Docket is 202-566-2426.

6/13/2011 US EPA Press Release: EPA Improves Clean-Air Permitting in Indian Country

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE June 13, 2011 CONTACT: Enesta Jones (News Media Only) 202-564-7873 202-564-4355 EPA Improves Clean-Air Permitting in Indian Country: Action protects public health, allows for public participation and fosters economic development in Indian Country WASHINGTON – The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) today finalized rules to ensure that Clean Air Act permitting requirements are applied consistently to facilities in Indian country to better protect the health of people living near them. This action will provide tribes with the tools they need to ensure that newly built or expanding facilities meet these requirements, while giving industries the flexibility to choose the most practical and cost effective way to do so. These sensible steps were developed after considering public input from key stakeholders including tribes, industry, and states. Pollutants covered under these permits, such as sulfur dioxide and particles, can cause a number of serious health problems including aggravated asthma, increased emergency room visits, heart attacks and premature death.

“These actions will limit harmful pollutants, provide the health protections tribal families deserve and allow for an open and transparent permitting process,” said Gina McCarthy, assistant administrator for EPA’s Office of Air and Radiation. “The actions also bring clean air permitting programs for Indian country in line with state and federal programs.”

Today’s actions lay out clear requirements for issuing clean air permits to sources in Indian country and set specific timelines for phasing them in. The rules establish the federal process to issue permits to large sources, those emitting more than 100 tons per year, in areas of Indian country that do not meet national air quality standards, and to register smaller sources, those emitting less than 100 or 250 tons per year in all areas of Indian country. A rule already in place lays out requirements for EPA to issue permits to major sources in areas of Indian country that meet national air quality standards. The new rules fill an important gap in the nation’s air program that will foster economic development in Indian country in a way that protects the health of tribes, a group that shares the same environmental justice concerns as other low-income and minority communities.

The preconstruction air permitting program, also called New Source Review or “NSR,” ensures air quality is maintained when industrial facilities are built or modified. The program ensures that appropriate emission control technology is installed at new plants or existing plants that undergo a modification.

More information:

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View all news releases related to air issues

6/13/2011 The Guardian: Italian referendum likely to dash Berlusconi's nuclear energy plans

The Guardian, June 13 2011 Italian referendum likely to dash Berlusconi’s nuclear energy plans  Prime minister dealt second political blow in less than two weeks as opponents succeed in getting turnout above 50% By John Hooper in Rom.   Silvio Berlusconi’s plans for a big nuclear construction programme and water privatisation look set to be dashed in four nationwide ballots. Silvio Berlusconi was heading on Monday for a second defeat in less than two weeks as his government admitted its opponents had succeeded in getting more than 50% of the electorate to vote in popular referendums including one on nuclear power.   The outcome of the four ballots, which will be known later on Monday, looked certain to dash the plans of Italy‘s embattled rightwing government for a big nuclear construction programme and water privatisation.

Berlusconi said: “We shall have to say good-bye to nuclear [energy].” He told a press conference in Rome that his government would now throw all its energy into developing renewable sources.

The expected outcome would be a huge success for the anti-nuclear movement in the world’s first nationwide vote on the issue since Japan’s Fukushima disaster. But the ballot was also the latest – and most persuasive – evidence that a majority of Italians has turned against their flamboyant prime minister.

Under Italian law, referendums require more than half the electorate to vote to be binding. The government did all it could to keep turnout low and appealed to the courts for the vote to be declared illegal. Italian television, largely under Berlusconi’s sway, almost ignored the approaching ballots until the final days of a poorly funded, low-profile campaign.

Yet the interior minister, Roberto Maroni, said his department’s projections indicated the opposition would reach its 50% target, regardless of the turnout among more than three million Italians overseas who are entitled to vote.

Berlusconi’s government, which yokes his Freedom People movement to the regionalist and Islamophobic Northern League, first ran into serious trouble on 30 May when his candidate for mayor of Milan lost in a local election runoff. Milan is Berlusconi’s home city and has traditionally been a weather-vane, accurately pointing to Italy’s future political direction.

Since then, many rank-and-file league supporters have been urging their leader, Umberto Bossi, to cut himself free of Berlusconi. The party leadership has so far remained wedded to the coalition while pressing for a radical change in economic policy that would deliver tax cuts to its lower middle-class electoral base.

Italy abandoned its nuclear programme following a similar referendum in 1987. But the moratorium it introduced only remained in force for five years. Berlusconi had planned to generate a quarter of Italy’s electricity with French-built nuclear plants.


6/11/2011 NY Times: Protests Challenge Japan's Use of Nuclear Power

Protests Challenge Japan’s Use of Nuclear Power By HIROKO TABUCHI, New York Times, June 11, 2011 Background: In Germany there have been anti-nuclear protests involving tens of thousands of people reported on many occasions.  But tens of thousands of people protesting in Japan?  That is unheard of – until now. TOKYO — Beating drums and waving flowers, protesters in Tokyo and other major cities rallied against the use of nuclear power on Saturday, three months after a devastating tsunami set off a nuclear crisis.

ranck Robichon/European Pressphoto Agency  Demonstrators in Tokyo on Saturday at one of the many rallies around Japan to protest the country’s reliance on nuclear power.

Anger over the government’s handling of the accident at the Fukushima nuclear plant has erupted in recent weeks after revelations that the damage at the plant, and the release of radioactive material, was far worse than previously thought. Mothers worried for their children’s health, as well as farmers and fishermen angry about their damaged livelihoods, have been especially critical of the government of Prime Minister Naoto Kan.

The disaster has also prompted a national debate about Japan’s heavy reliance on nuclear power despite the country’s history of devastating earthquakes and a deep public distrust of the nuclear industry. In perhaps his sole move that has won popular support, Mr. Kan ordered the shutdown of a separate nuclear power plant in central Japan until it can bolster its tsunami defenses. But recent politicking in a gridlocked Parliament has added to the public’s disenchantment. “We now know the dangers of relying on nuclear power, and it’s time to make a change,”

Hajime Matsumoto, one of the rally’s organizers, told a crowd in a central Tokyo square that eventually grew to about 20,000 people, according to organizers’ estimates. “And, yes, I believe Japan can change,” he shouted, as the crowd roared back and people pumped their fists in the air.

Supporters of the rally here in Tokyo, and in coordinated events in many other cities in Japan, say the demonstration was remarkable not because of its size, but because it happened at all in a country that so values conformity and order.

“The Japanese haven’t been big protesters, at least recently,” said Junichi Sato, program director of the environmental group Greenpeace Japan, who said he had organized enough poorly attended rallies to know.

“They’re taking the first steps toward making themselves heard.” Many in the crowd said they were protesting for the first time. “I’m here for my children,” said Aki Ishii, who had her 3-year-old daughter in tow. “We just want our old life back, where the water is safe and the air is clean.” Her daughter wore a sign that said “Please let me play outside again.”

Hiromasa Fujimoto, a rice and vegetable farmer, said it was his first protest, too. “I want to tell people that I’m just so worried about the soil, about the water,” he said. “I now farm with a Geiger counter in one hand, my tools in the other.” “It’s insane,” he added. And while the rally started in a typically orderly way — “Let’s all remember good manners!” organizers said at the start, as protesters lined up in neat rows — the crowd eventually took a more rowdy turn.

As protesters congregated in a Tokyo square after several marches through the city, there were some confrontations with the police. A police officer who refused to give his name explained breathlessly that protesters had not been given permission to congregate in the square. “Disperse immediately!” police officers shouted through megaphones.

“Shut up and go away!” a young man screamed back. About 9 p.m., however, police officers forcibly moved in to break up the crowd. There was some pushing and shoving, but no serious skirmishes. Still, Mr. Matsumoto, the organizer, looked elated.

“Who would have thought so many people would turn up?” he said. “I think that Japan is on the cusp of something new.” But some passers-by were less enthusiastic. “What can they really do?” said Airi Ishii, 21, a shopper who had stopped to watch the rally with her boyfriend. “It looks fun, but if you think anything will change, it’s naïve.”

6/11/2011 Forgotten People – Huxley College of the Environment, Western Washington University Mapping Project

Forgotten People – Huxley College of the Environment, Western Washington University Mapping Project: Please check out the links for maps showing proposed uranium haul       routes from the Grand Canyon thru the Navajo Nation AND a map showing the proximity of abandoned uranium mines to water sources. Huxley College, WWU rocks!                     Forgotten People-Huxley College Mapping Project.                                                                   

5/16/2011 ICT Navajos Appeal to Inter-American Commission on Human Rights over Proposed Uranium Mining

Navajos Appeal to Inter-American Commission on Human Rights over Proposed uranium mining   This former leeching pond, owned by United Nuclear Corporation, lies near Highway 566, north of Church Rock, New Mexico.By Indian Country Today ICTMN Staff May 16, 2011: This former leeching pond, owned by United Nuclear Corporation, lies near Highway 566, north of Church Rock, New Mexico. Dominic Miller/Caterwaul Quarterly This former leeching pond, owned by United Nuclear Corporation, lies near Highway 566, north of Church Rock, New Mexico.

The Eastern Navajo Diné is appealing to the international community to stop uranium mining in the Navajo villages of Church Rock and Crownpoint, New Mexico, attorneys for the tribe announced at a press conference on May 16. Unable to get anywhere during 16 years of battling within the U.S. legal system, the Diné group on May 16 filed an appeal with the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights. For 16 years Eastern Navajo Diné Against Uranium Mining (ENDAUM), represented by the New Mexico Environmental Law Center (NMELC), has been fighting to overturn a mining license awarded to Hydro Resources Inc. (HRI) by the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) so as to avoid contaminating the drinking water of 15,000 people, the law center said in a press release.

“The HRI license marks the first time that any mining company in the U.S. has been federally authorized to mine uranium in a community drinking water aquifer,” said NMELC attorney Eric Jantz in the statement. “This aquifer provides the sole source of drinking water for the mostly Navajo community members represented by ENDAUM. By granting this license, the NRC has failed to uphold its mandate to protect the health and safety of all Americans.”

The NMELC and ENDAUM want the NRC to suspend HRI’s materials license “until such time as HRI has remediated the radioactive surface contamination on Church Rock’s Section 17, and the United States has taken significant and meaningful steps to remediate the abandoned uranium mines within the boundaries of the Church Rock Chapter,” the press release said. It also wants the NRC to submit, for public hearing, “comprehensive baseline groundwater quality and other hydrological, geological and geochemical data.”

In addition the Navajo want the NRC to rescind HRI’s license to mine uranium on Church Rock Section 17 and Unit 1 sites, because of the Navajo Nation’s ban on uranium mining and processing, and says that petitioner Larry King and his family should not be removed from Church Rock Section 17 and that there should be no “forced disruption of his subsistence grazing practices or cultural activities.”

According to Greenwire in The New York Times, the Navajo Nation is already dealing with contamination from previous uranium mines and its attendant high rates of cancer, heart disease and birth defects. Cleanup efforts are taking years, and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is evaluating more than 500 sites in the western part of the Navajo Nation.

“This petition is important because it’s the first time that the Nuclear Regulatory Commission has ever been taken to task for its lax regulations, and it’s also the first time that any grievance has been [filed] based on the human rights aspect of the nuclear field cycle,” said Jantz in a video explaining the filing. “We hope that this petition’s going to shine an international spotlight on the Nuclear Regulatory Commission and the U.S.’s nuclear energy policy and at the same time keep the uranium mine from going forward in our clients’ communities.”

5/27/2011 Earth Policy Institute – Pollution: Cancer is now the leading cause of death in China

5/27/2011 Pollution: Cancer is now the leading cause of death in China. This post was written by Janet Larsen, director of research for the Earth Policy Institute. Additional resources at Cancer is now the leading cause of death in China. Chinese Ministry of Health data implicate cancer in close to a quarter of all deaths countrywide. As is common with many countries as they industrialize, the usual plagues of poverty — infectious diseases and high infant mortality — have given way to diseases more often associated with affluence, such as heart disease, stroke, and cancer. While this might be expected in China’s richer cities, where bicycles are fast being traded in for cars and meat consumption is climbing, it also holds true in rural areas. In fact, reports from the countryside reveal a dangerous epidemic of “cancer villages” linked to pollution from some of the very industries propelling China’s explosive economy. By pursuing economic growth above all else, China is sacrificing the health of its people, ultimately risking future prosperity.

Lung cancer is the most common cancer in China. Deaths from this typically fatal disease have shot up nearly fivefold since the 1970s. In China’s rapidly growing cities, like Shanghai and Beijing, where particulates in the air are often four times higher than in New York City, nearly 30 percent of cancer deaths are from lung cancer.

Dirty air is associated with not only a number of cancers, but also heart disease, stroke, and respiratory disease, which together account for over 80 percent of deaths countrywide. According to the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention, the burning of coal is responsible for 70 percent of the emissions of soot that clouds out the sun in so much of China; 85 percent of sulfur dioxide, which causes acid rain and smog; and 67 percent of nitrogen oxide, a precursor to harmful ground level ozone. Coal burning is also a major emitter of carcinogens and mercury, a potent neurotoxin. Coal ash, which contains radioactive material and heavy metals, including chromium, arsenic, lead, cadmium, and mercury, is China’s No. 1 source of solid industrial waste. The toxic ash that is not otherwise used in infrastructure or manufacturing is stored in impoundments, where it can be caught by air currents or leach contaminants into the groundwater.

Coal pollution combined with emissions from China’s burgeoning industries and the exhaust of a fast-growing national vehicle fleet are plenty enough to impair breathing and jeopardize health. But that does not stop over half the men in China from smoking tobacco. Smoking is far less common among women; less than 3 percent light up. Still, about one in 10 of the estimated 1 million Chinese who die from smoking-related diseases each year are exposed to carcinogenic secondhand smoke but do not smoke themselves.

In rural areas, liver, lung, and stomach cancers each accounts for close to 20 percent of cancer mortality. Liver cancer is more than three times as likely to kill a Chinese farmer as the average global citizen; for stomach cancer, rural Chinese have double the world death rate. These cancers are linked to water polluted by chemicals and sewage, along with other environmental contaminants.

As factories, plants, and mines discharge pollutants, rivers and lakes take on sickly hues. Even underground water sources become contaminated. Government data indicate that half of China’s rivers and more than three out of every four lakes and reservoirs are too polluted for safe drinking, even after treatment. Nevertheless, they remain a primary source of water for many people.

More than 450 “cancer villages” have emerged across China in recent years, according to an analysis by geographer Lee Liu published in Environment magazine in 2010. These communities — where an unusually high number of residents are struck by the same types of cancer — tend to cluster in poorer areas along polluted waterways or downstream from industrial parks. Whereas much of China’s early industrial development took place along the coast, factories more recently have been locating where labor is cheaper and environmental oversight is less strict, pushing the so-called “cancer belt” inland.

For villages once largely self-sufficient, the poisoning of their water and soil is devastating. The young and able-bodied often leave to seek income elsewhere. Those too old, too poor, or too sick to leave remain, struggling to work the poisoned land.

Liu notes that in some extreme cases, like in Huangmengying Village in Henan Province, “the death rate is higher than the birth rate and is rising rapidly,” and not because of population aging. In this particular village, which gets blackened water from a tributary of the notoriously polluted Huai River, some 80 percent of the village’s young people are chronically ill. Even 1-year-olds are receiving cancer diagnoses. About half of all the village deaths between 1994 and 2004 were caused by liver, rectum, and stomach cancers. More recent data is not readily available because the government official who initially made the numbers public was accused of “leaking state secrets,” was fired from his job as the village’s Party secretary, and now is reluctant to speak out, according to reporting for the Global Times.

Because of the lag time before diagnosis or death, plus the lack of health care in many of the poorest, most polluted areas, the magnitude of China’s cancer epidemic could be far greater than imagined. And not all the environmental burden is borne locally. The contamination spans geography — as toxins in products and crops are spread through markets and trade or are literally carried across oceans by global air currents — as well as generations.

China’s youth, and therefore the country’s future, are at risk. Birth defect rates have been climbing rapidly in recent years in the major cities and countrywide. Chinese family planning officials link this “alarming rise” to environmental contamination. The coal mining and processing areas of Shanxi Province are home to the world’s highest birth defect rate: over 8.4 percent. Of the 1 million or so affected babies born each year in China, some 20 to 30 percent may be treated, but 40 percent will have permanent disabilities. The rest die shortly after birth.

Over the last several years, thousands of children living near lead mines, smelters, and battery plants have been poisoned. Deadly at excessive levels, lead in the blood is considered unsafe in any amount. Exposure can impair cognitive and nervous system development, stunt growth, hamper learning, and depress IQ. Heartbreaking news stories tell of the lost potential of children who lose their chance to go on to school or fail to thrive more generally due to their exposure to high environmental levels of lead.

For a country of one child families, it is no wonder to see more frequent “mass incidents” (the government’s term for protests) sparked by the health fallout from pollution. In some cases, operations of the offending industries have been closed following protest; in others, the government has relocated entire communities to allow the polluters to continue operations. Yet in many situations, the contamination continues unabated.

It is easy to point a finger at unscrupulous industries and government officials willing to look the other way, but some responsibility for China’s unhealthy environment originates outside the country’s borders. Waste is frequently loaded up in container ships overseas and delivered directly to China. More insidiously, Western consumers lapping up artificially cheap “Made in China” components and products have outsourced pollution to this factory for the world.

Earlier this year, near the release of China’s latest five-year plan, The New York Times quoted Prime Minister Wen Jiabao’s proclamation that “We must not any longer sacrifice the environment for the sake of rapid growth and reckless roll-outs.” Yet while official rhetoric recognizes the importance of preserving the environment and the health of its people, the Chinese government still has a long way to go in bolstering transparency and enforcement of even the existing environmental regulations, not to mention strengthening protection. If it does not do so, the country’s toxic burden threatens to stall or even reverse the dramatic health gains of the last 60 years, which raised average life expectancy from 45 to 74 years and slashed infant mortality from 122 deaths per 1,000 births down to 20. Economic gains could be lost as productivity wanes and massive health bills come due. Ultimately, a sick country can prosper only so long.

Here’s a breakdown of the leading causes of death in China:

5/30/2011 Indigenous, Community & Spiritual Leaders Affirm Commitment to Protect Holy San Francisco Peaks: Navajo Nation President 'We've Got to Stop the Construction'

Indigenous, Community & Spiritual Leaders Affirm Commitment to Protect Holy San Francisco Peaks: Navajo Nation President ‘We’ve Got to Stop the Construction’:FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE *High resolution pictures available at Date: Mon, May 30, 2011 at 1:48 AM FLAGSTAFF, AZ — Local environmental justice organizations, Tribal representatives, and members of Flagstaff community held a media conference on Saturday, May 28 to address threats of Arizona Snowbowl’s ski expansion development and current construction of wastewater pipeline for snowmaking. On Tuesday May 25th, Snowbowl began construction of a wastewater pipeline on the holy San Francisco Peaks, located in Northern Arizona.

Standing at the base of the Holy San Francisco Peaks, Navajo Nation President Ben Shelly stated, “We’ve got to stop the construction.” President Shelly affirmed his commitment to protecting the Peaks and urged for greater protection of all sacred sites, “We need to make a law… we need larger organizations to protect these mountains.”

Kelvin Long, director of ECHOES stated, “We’re going to protect our mountain, we’re not going to allow snowmaking to happen.”

Howard Shanker, attorney for the Save the Peaks Coalition and other plaintiffs stated, “Native American’s don’t have first amendment rights when it comes to federal land use decisions. For our federal government to be involved in the desecration of a sacred and holy site that is so important to so many people, for the economic benefit of so few is a tragedy. All people of conscience should be involved in this process, should be fighting this process and should step up and say wait a minute this isn’t right.”

“Snowbowl is proceeding at their own risk, when we prevail in court they’re going to have to take the pipes out of the ground.
The federal government is doing everything it can to make sure snowbowl has a consistent ski season even though they’re attempting to use reclaimed sewer water, which scientifically is not proven safe.” Shanker said.

The wastewater, which would be purchased through contract from the City of Flagstaff, has been proven by biologists to contain harmful contaminants such as pharmaceuticals and hormones. In their Environmental Impact Statement the Forest Service did not consider the impact of ingesting waste water in the form of artificial snow or from the storage pond by humans and animals.

This point is the basis of the Save the Peaks Coalition’s current lawsuit which is currently appealing a District Court decision in favor of Snowbowl’s proposed actions.

Thomas Walker, former Navajo Nation Tribal Council Delegate stated, “The Navajo Nation has historically been opposed to any kind of development on the San Francisco Peaks… this mountain is not to be desecrated.”

Steve Darden of the Navajo Nation Human Rights Commission and former Flagstaff City Council member sent a message to the youth, “In our Hogans and sweat lodges we are offering our prayers, were relying on you young ones to step up.”

Jihan Gearon of the Indigenous Environmental Network connected her organization’s work to stop the Tar Sands in Canada to Snowbowl’s wasetwater pipeline, “The Tar Sands are the largest industrial project ever in the entire world… pipelines break and pipelines spill, I can pretty much guarantee that they are never safe. Not only us, but everyone if Flagstaff needs to be made aware of. The construction happening on the mountain now is a wake-up call.”

Clayson Benally, a member of the Save the Peaks Coalition and plaintiff in the current suit against the Forest Service stated, “Our youth and our children will potentially be impacted by this snow. This is all for the profit of one business thats outside of city limits that doesn’t pay into the tax base of Flagstaff. They put economic profit over our health, over our own community’s health and well being, that goes too far.”

“This is a pre-emptive strike from Snowbowl… when we win in court what are they going to do?” stated Benally.

Earlier in the day 40 people, including Winifred Bessie Jumbo the current Miss Navajo, gathered in prayer on the San Francisco Peaks. Before and during the prayers, more than a half-dozen armed law enforcement agents from Coconino County Sheriffs and the Forest Service monitored the gathering and patrolled the area.

For more than a dozen years Indigenous Nations, environmental activists, and concerned community members have worked together to protect the holy site and surrounding area from further ecological destruction, public health threats, and spiritual desecration.

Arizona Snowbowl’s development plans include clear-cutting 74 acres of rare alpine habitat that is home to threatened species, making new runs and lifts, adding more parking lots and building a 14.8 mile buried pipeline to transport up to 180 million gallons (per season) of wastewater to make artificial snow on 205 acres.

The Peaks are central to the ways of life of more than 13 Indigenous Nations.


Klee Benally | – Independent Indigenous Media

6/10/2011 @ 2 p.m. EDT, Interior Secretary Ken Salazar will be addressing Grand Canyon protections during a live online chat

Pressure Mounts to Save Grand Canyon From Uranium Mining Web chat with Secretary Salazar on America’s Great Outdoors, Friday, 2:00 pm EDT. Submit your questions in advance by sending them to Or ask them during the chat at The Kansas City Star. In less than six weeks, the current two-year ban on destructive uranium mining in the Grand Canyon watershed will expire — and 1 million acres in and near the massive landmark are at stake. While the mining industry pushes the Department of the Interior to open up the area to uranium interests, the Center for Biological Diversity and allies are pushing back to defend the Grand Canyon’s water, soil and species from contamination and degradation. The Center has filed suit four times to help save the Grand Canyon area from uranium mining and won’t give up till this beautiful natural marvel is protected from new mines.