- The Washington Times - Tuesday, October 29, 2019

Democratic Rep. Raúl Grijalva of Arizona has submitted a bill to prevent the Trump administration from mining near the Grand Canyon.

Mr. Grijalva, chairman of the House Natural Resources Committee, said the bill would ban mining throughout all federal land in Arizona because he wants to ward off the “imminent threat” of drilling near the nation’s iconic national park.

The full House will vote Wednesday on the bill.

“Fundamentally … this is what we need to be doing to deal with climate change in our public lands — to begin to reduce the extraction and promote the conservation side of it,” Mr. Grijalva told The Hill.

Mr. Grijalva said the legislation is intended to protect the natural wonder from recommendations from a White House Uranium Mining Group, which could suggest drilling near parts of the national park.

“Before the working group, the motivation for this was: We’ve wanted to do this for a long time, even during [the Obama administration]. But then the motivation became: They’re going to lift the moratorium,” the congressman said.

“We’ve always felt that we could wait these people out and then get back to it when we had an administration to work with. But then it was verified for us when we saw the working group. And then I said, ‘Yeah, it’s pretty real,’ ” he added.

In 2017, Mr. Trump appeared to favor uranium mining by declaring it as a critical element for national security uses — a view shared by other uranium mining and utility companies, who have said continuing to buy uranium overseas could risk national security.

In September, the Trump administration attempted to open more than 40,000 acres of an Alaskan national forest for logging before it was blocked by a federal judge.

• Bailey Vogt can be reached at bvogt@washingtontimes.com.

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