July 2, 2018 / Modified aug 2, 2018 2:52 p.m.

Arizona Reps Want Assurances on Uranium Mining Ban Near Grand Canyon

Members of Arizona's congressional delegation want assurances from the Trump administration.

Grand canyon colorado The Colorado River snakes through the Grand Canyon. (PHOTO: Vanessa Barchfield, AZPM)

Southern Arizona Congressmen Raúl Grijalva and Tom O'Halleran have asked for a more formal commitment to sustaining a ban on uranium mining near the Grand Canyon, in a letter to U.S. Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke.

The letter said the Interior Department has made such a promise in tweets, but that the members of Congress want something more formal.

A 2012 moratorium put a 20-year ban on mining claims on land surrounding the park.

There are hundreds of abandoned mines on Navajo Reservation, near the Grand Canyon. The representatives said the clean-up of those mines has already cost more than $1 billion.

Representatives Ruben Gallego and Kyrsten Sinema also signed the letter.

UPDATE: This story was updated Aug. 2, 2018 to clarify the existence of a ban on uranium mining in the area that started in 2012.

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