Biden Takes Strong Stance Opposing Pebble Mine and Uranium Mining Near Grand Canyon

Basic Information - Grand Canyon National Park (U.S. National Park ...

The Grand Canyon      Photo: National Park Service

Democratic Presidential candidate Joe Biden over the weekend stated his strong opposition to two prominent mining projects –the Pebble Mine in Alaska and possible uranium mining adjacent to the Grand Canyon — with huge impacts on local economies and Native American communities nearby.  On Friday, Biden issued a statement saying that “The Grand Canyon is first among the landmarks of our nation — holy to the Tribes who preserve it and call it home, and sacred to all Americans,”  and that mining there would be like driving “a drill into the heart of one of Arizona’s cultural and economic cornerstones.” Then Sunday, Biden said of the Pebble Mine that “Alaskan culture, traditions, and jobs are on the line. As president, I will do what President Trump has failed to do: listen to the scientists and experts to protect Bristol Bay — and all it offers to Alaska, our country, and the world.”

Why This Matters:  Biden understands the importance of both these pristine areas to ALL Americans, and especially their importance to Indigenous Americans.  No short term gain from mining for finite resources is worth sacrificing the perpetual economic and environmental benefits of the Grand Canyon and Bristol Bay’s natural resources and stunning beauty.  

Bristol Bay and the Disastrous Pebble Mine

The Trump Administration has been pushing to permit the Pebble Mine reversing a decision by President Obama to end the mine’s development back in 2014.  According to the Anchorage Daily News, the government last month “released a final environmental review of the project, potentially setting the stage for the agency to issue a key permit for construction as early as this month.”  Then last week Donald Trump, Jr. jumped into the fray and tweeted that he opposes the mine, after which the President said, in response to reporters that he would “listen to both sides of the argument.”  The Anchorage Daily News reported that the government preposterously concluded that the mine “would not be expected to have a measurable effect on fish numbers and result in long-term changes to the health of the commercial fisheries in Bristol Bay.”  The mine, as we reported last year would be sited near two National Parks, and the mine tailings would be piped along the headwaters of the Bristol Bay salmon fishery about 200 miles from Anchorage, the most valuable wild salmon fishery in the world.  Biden said that this is “no place for a mine,”  in a statement to news media and that “The Obama-Biden Administration reached that conclusion when we ran a rigorous, science-based process in 2014, and it is still true today.”

Dangerous Uranium Mining Adjacent to the Grand Canyon

Similar to Pebble Mine, uranium mining near the Grand Canyon was foreclosed by the Obama Administration — in this case, as we explained, Obama imposed a 20-year moratorium on mining near the nation’s most famous natural monument, in order to study the ecological effects uranium mining could have on the region, as reported to by the Arizona Republic’s Debra Utacia Krol.  Native American Tribes in the region strongly opposed uranium mining there.  Navajo National President Jonathan Nez said “The Navajo people and other tribes have always considered the Grand Canyon and areas adjacent a sacred place.  ” In addition, cancer rates among Navajo Tribe members are very high, with some suspecting previous open-pit mines that remain hazardous because they have not been reclaimed.

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