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Enviros sue over uranium mining near Grand Canyon

September 30, 2008 |  3:46 pm

Grand200_2 Environmental groups are suing Interior Secretary Dirk Kempthorne for allowing uranium mining on about 1 million acres around Grand Canyon National Park, which critics contend could contaminate ground and surface water as far away as Los Angeles.

Kempthorne is accused of ignoring a ban proposed June 25 by the House Natural Resources Committee on new uranium exploration around the Grand Canyon. Congress enacted emergency withdrawals of land around the park to preserve the Colorado River watershed.

Rising prices for uranium have driven federal agencies to lease more land for mining, despite  documented health problems associated with uranium mining dust, rocks and water. The issue was examined in depth The Times' Judy Pasternak in her November 2006 series about death on the Navajo Indian reservation.

--Julie Cart

Photo credit: Environmental Protection Agency

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