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

Blog Post

Arizona regulators throw shade on solar | Ross Sherman

After a year of deliberation about the value of rooftop solar energy, Arizona regulators voted 4-1 last week to substantially curtail the credits that solar customers receive for providing solar power. The Arizona Corporation Commission’s (ACC) decision slashed net-metering, which has played a major role in the expansion of rooftop solar in Arizona and nationwide.

> Keep Reading
News Release | Environment America

WITH TWO MORE NATIONAL MONUMENTS, OBAMA CONSERVATION LEGACY GETS EVEN STRONGER

Washington DC -- Today President Obama designated two new national monuments in the Southwest, permanently protecting nearly two million acres.   Environment America’s Executive Director Margie Alt issued the following statement:

> Keep Reading
News Release | Environment America

Arctic and Atlantic oceans protected!

Washington, D.C. – Our oceans are more protected today because President Obama permanently withdrew 115 million acres of the Arctic and 31 canyons in the Atlantic Ocean from all future oil and gas development, citing the dangers of offshore drilling and the need to move away from fossil fuels. Canada announced parallel actions, which included an indefinite freeze on oil and gas leasing in Arctic waters to be reviewed every five years.

> Keep Reading
Blog Post

Solar Forges Ahead | Ross Sherman

With all that happened in 2016, solar isn’t showing many signs of slowing down -- at least not yet. According to recent data from the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA) and GTM Research, solar just had its best overall quarter ever.

> Keep Reading
News Release | Environment America

1000 businesses, educators and environmental groups call for Greater Grand Canyon Heritage National Monument

Washington, D.C. -- As the clock ticks down on the Obama administration, one thousand community leaders are joining the call to permanently protect the Grand Canyon and 1.7 million acres surrounding it from dirty and dangerous uranium mining. Representing nearly all 50 states, environmental organizations, business owners and academics, organized by Environment America, sent letters to President Obama, adding their voices to those of Native American tribes, local, state and federal elected officials, faith leaders and nearly one million Americans who have petitioned the president to create a new Greater Grand Canyon Heritage National Monument. 

> Keep Reading

Pages

View AllRSS Feed