Apparently, it is easier for Senator Martha Coverup McSally to justify Mr. Trump’s high crimes and misdemeanors than it is to say no to corporate interests who want to launch uranium mining ventures in the Grand Canyon.
Last year, the House of Representatives, led by Arizonans Raul Grijalva and Tom O’Halleran, passed a measure banning uranium mining inside and immediately outside the Grand Canyon National Park.
Just before the New Year, Senator (the elected one) Kyrsten Sinema introduced a Senate version of protecting the Grand Canyon (called the Grand Canyon Centennial Protection Act) from uranium mining.
None of the Arizona Republican House members (Lesko, Biggs, Gosar, and Schweikert) supported the measure protecting the Grand Canyon.
Senator Coverup McSally has not said where she stands on the matter.
On February 24, 2020, a group of Native American, environmental, and wildlife preservation activists (including National Congress of American Indians, Grand Canyon Trust, Center for Biological Diversity, Sierra Club, Chispa Arizona, and the Natural Resources Defense Council) sent a letter to Coverup McSally, asking her to support, and cosponsor the Sinema legislation.
In the letter, the writers stressed that:
“Mining contamination presents a direct threat to federally reserved water rights of tribal nations in and around the Grand Canyon, including such rights associated with groundwater that feeds into the seeps and streams within tribal homelands.”
The groups that sent the letter also sent out an accompanying press release that stressed the potential for life-threatening contamination to the Colorado River, the soil, wildlife, and humanity if the mining ventures were allowed.
Among the most telling passages of the press release were:
“Arizona is ‘the Grand Canyon State.’ It’s also the home of extensive, deadly uranium mining contamination that, after decades, continues to destroy the lives and health of Arizona residents, particularly on the Navajo Nation,” said Amber Reimondo, energy program director for the Grand Canyon Trust. “Uranium contamination is forever and it’s a gamble this state has no business making again, let alone in the Grand Canyon region. This should not be a difficult call for a senator from Arizona to make.”
“Uranium mining threatens the Grand Canyon’s water supply, including that of the native Havasupai people,” said Kevin Dahl, senior Arizona program manager for the National Parks Conservation Association. “Nearly identical legislation passed the House in a bipartisan vote that demonstrated overwhelming support, proving that Americans share a common goal in defending and preserving the Grand Canyon’s fragile and limited water supply. The Senate now has the unique opportunity to create a lasting conservation legacy for this beloved national treasure, and we urge Senator McSally to permanently protect the Grand Canyon from uranium mining by passing the Grand Canyon Centennial Protection Act.”
“Grand Canyon’s awe-inspiring landscapes, its wild and human communities, its great wealth of tribal nations, and Arizona’s outdoor recreation economy, need this protection now,” admonishes Kelly Burke, executive director of Wild Arizona. In supporting this bill, Arizona Senator McSally has a powerful and forward-looking opportunity to forever secure the Canyon’s magnificent rimlands and the iconic Arizona Trail against new uranium mining industrialization and the irreversible contamination of water sources.”
“It should be easy for Sen. McSally to take a stand for an iconic American landmark,” said Heidi McIntosh, managing attorney of the Earthjustice Rocky Mountain regional office. “Leaders in both parties across the country have already done so. We hope she will do the right thing and put the health of essential water sources and public lands before polluters’ profits.”
Ms. McIntosh is right. It should be easy for Coverup McSally (like it should have been for the four Arizona Republican House Members) to support this measure that will protect the Grand Canyon National Park and more importantly, save lives and the environment.
Just say No to Uranium Mining Senator Martha Coverup McSally.