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

Northeast States Must Take Stronger Action Against Pollution

BOSTON – Today, representatives of nine states in the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic are meeting to discuss taking stronger action to cut global warming pollution. These states, part of a regional program that limits pollution from power plants called the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative, are preparing to make a decision about how much to cut pollution from 2020 to 2030. Environment America and a broad coalition are urging the states to be more ambitious.

> Keep Reading
News Release | Environment America

President Obama and Secretary Jewell Earn their Stripes as the "Old Faithful" of Conservation

Today, the Obama Administration announced that new mining claims will be prohibited on 30,000 acres near Yellowstone National Park.  

> Keep Reading
News Release | Environment America

In a win for our oceans and climate, President Obama drops plans for Arctic, Atlantic drilling

Washington, D.C. – In a win for our oceans and climate, the Obama administration finalized its oil and gas leasing program, which provides protection for the Arctic and Atlantic Oceans from risky oil and gas drilling for the next five years.

> Keep Reading
News Release | Environment America

119,662 Americans: Give Rusty Patched Bumble Bee Endangered Status

Washington, D.C.— As the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service considers granting Endangered Species Act protection to the rusty patched bumble bee, groups are taking the fight to their front door. Friends of the Earth, Environment America, Environmental Action and the Sierra Club are delivering petitions to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife headquarters today signed by 119,662 people urging the agency to enact immediate protections for the bee.  

> Keep Reading
News Release | Environment America

Thousands call for shift to renewable energy

WASHINGTON, DC (November 17, 2016) –  Thousands of people across the nation are standing together this week to call for a bold shift to 100 percent renewable energy in their communities and their institutions. More than 50 events across the country are being held as part of 100% Committed. 100% Renewable. The Week of Action for Renewable Energy, a collaboration of The Climate Reality Project, Environment America, the Student PIRGs and other partners. The events are being held to champion renewable energy in the face of President-elect Donald Trump’s outdated and dangerous energy platform that could set the climate movement back decades.

> Keep Reading

Pages

View AllRSS Feed