The Grand Canyon is a part of our national heritage

Millions of Americans have experienced the jaw-dropping beauty and wonder of the Grand Canyon. Millions of us would love to go there someday.

But right now, the mining industry is pushing hard to open the land around the Grand Canyon to up to 8,300 claims to dig for uranium and other metals. With powerful backers and lobbyists in Washington, this isn't good news. That's why we're urging President Obama to deliver permanent protections, before it’s too late.

Can you imagine what more toxic mines would mean for this sacred place? 

Wildlife and wilderness would be disturbed as heavy machinery rips deep into the earth. Creeks and seeps would be contaminated by radioactive uranium and other toxic  mining wastes. Trucks carrying that uranium would roar down the very same road that tourists use to travel to the South Rim of the Canyon. One mine is just six miles from the national park’s doorstep.

We don’t even have to imagine—scars of past mining projects are already scattered across the Canyon.

Hikers in Grand Canyon National Park can’t drink the water from four different radioactively contaminated streams. When one mine reopened in 2009, more than 2 million gallons of highly contaminated groundwater were discovered in its deep shaft. All told, 15 springs and 5 wells within the Grand Canyon watershed are tainted with unsafe levels of uranium. 

Mines near the Grand Canyon risk more than natural beauty 

They risk lives. One study found that Navajo uranium miners in Arizona had a lung cancer rate that was nearly 29 times that of their neighbors. One of the proposed mines sits on top of an aquifer, the only water source for the Havasupai Tribe.

The Colorado River that flows through the Canyon is more than great place to raft and hike. It's a major source for crop irrigation and provides drinking water to 40 million people. 

The land provides critical wildlife corridors for iconic species like the mule dear. It is also home to 22 sensitive plant and animal species, some of which are found nowhere else in the world, like the Kaibab squirrel and native fish species such as the Humpback Chub. Already, 3 out of the Grand Canyon’s 8 native fish species are extinct and 2 are listed as critically endangered. 

We can’t erase the mistakes of the past

But we can prevent more contamination from harming the land and its inhabitants. Just in 2012, research and advocacy combined with our trademark grassroots action helped convince the president to suspend new mining projects near the Canyon.

The mining industry hasn’t given up the fight. The National Mining Association, which includes several foreign companies, has filed a suit to remove the moratorium. Public officials from four states support the suit despite the very real environmental, public health, and national security risks this litigation poses. And now, with help from the Koch brothers, they’re doing everything they can to keep the president from preserving this sacred place.

But together, we can stop any new mining leases

President Obama can permanently safeguard the Grand Canyon's land, heritage, and water with a single stroke of his pen—by declaring the Greater Grand Canyon Heritage National Monument. The Monument would protect 1.7 million acres of public land surrounding the Grand Canyon National Park. 

We know that broad support exists for such an action among likely American voters: 82% back monument establishment. But President Obama only has a few months left in office and pro-mining forces are fiercely opposing this idea. To convince the president to lead on this issue, we need to show him all the support we can right now.

Join our movement to protect the Grand Canyon today.

Issue updates

News Release | Environment America

Senator Markey and Senator Merkley Offer Resolution to Move U.S. to 100% Renewable Energy

WASHINGTON, DC - Today, Senator Ed Markey (D-MA) introduced a resolution in the U.S. Senate to shift America to 100 percent renewable energy. The resolution supports a transition to 100 percent renewable energy to help consumers, support the economy and national security, and avoid the worst impacts of climate change. 

> Keep Reading
Report

Blocking the Sun

Solar power is clean, affordable and popular with the American people. The amount of solar energy installed in the U.S. has quadrupled in the last four years, and the U.S. has enough solar energy installed to power one in 20 American homes.

America’s solar progress is largely the result of bold, forward-thinking public policies that have created a strong solar industry while putting solar energy within the financial reach of millions more Americans.

> Keep Reading
News Release | Environment Massachusetts

Environment Massachusetts and student activists highlight attacks on solar power, urge officials to commit to 100% renewable energy

BOSTON, MA – With solar power on the rise around the country, a national network of fossil fuel and utility-backed organizations have joined forces to put the brakes on this fast growing pollution-free energy resource.  Trade groups and think tanks backed by deep pocketed anti-clean energy ideologues and fossil interests are bankrolling campaigns, promoting model legislation and media campaigns to provide cover for anti-solar campaigns across the country, said a new report released today by Environment Massachusetts Research & Policy Center. 

> Keep Reading
News Release | Environment Massachusetts

Northeast states must take stronger action against pollution

Today, representatives of nine states in the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic are meeting to discuss taking stronger action to cut global warming pollution.

> Keep Reading
News Release | Environment Massachusetts Research & Policy Center

Experts say 100 percent renewable energy within reach for Massachusetts

Massachusetts and the nation can move quickly to supply 100 percent of our energy from clean, renewable resources like solar and wind, according to a panel of researchers and experts who spoke at Old South Church tonight to an audience of over 200 people.

> Keep Reading

Pages

View AllRSS Feed