Arizona's Outdoor Recreation Community Urges Interior Secretary To Protect Grand Canyon From Mining
It's not unusual to send postcards from national parks, but the card sent to Interior Secretary Ken Salazar not only encourages him to visit Grand Canyon National Park, but to protect it from hardrock mining.
Signed by more than 200 Arizona businesses that rely on outdoor recreation, the message was sent to the Interior secretary as the U.S. Bureau of Land Management nears an end to an environmental impact statement examining whether to pass a 20-year moratorium on hardrock mining near the park.
The retro-style postcards depict the Grand Canyon and read, “Wish you were here…and not new uranium mining! Thank you, Secretary Salazar, for your efforts to protect the Grand Canyon, our heritage, and our economy.”
“The health of our economy depends on making smart policy decisions that support small business,” said Ron Hubert, president of the Sustainable Economic Development Initiative that assisted in circulating postcards to business owners in Flagstaff. “Secretary Salazar is on track to make one of these smart decisions. Protecting the Grand Canyon protects Arizona’s economy, our future, and our way of life.”
The BLM's study is designed to examine how new uranium mining near the park would impact the land, water, and economy of the region. In response to public concern about mining risks to Colorado River water supplies, wildlife habitat, and the tourism economy, Interior Secretary Ken Salazar in June recommended a withdrawal of 1 million acres from new mineral entry around the Grand Canyon for 20 years.
In a related effort, 50 Arizona business associations and small businesses sent a letter to Secretary Ken Salazar in advance of Public Lands Day voicing support for the moratorium. The state’s national parks, monuments and other public lands, they say, are “powerful engines of Arizona’s economy.”
“Arizona’s national parks and monuments are breathtaking, and the cornerstones of our Western way of life. They’re also powerful engines of Arizona’s economy. That’s why, as business leaders, we support and appreciate your announcement of a six-month extension on the temporary moratorium on new uranium mining around the Grand Canyon, and your support for a potential 20-year ban,” the groups wrote in a joint letter to the Interior secretary.
“Thousands of American jobs depend on tourism to the Grand Canyon,” said Paul Hedger, President, Arizona Association of Bed & Breakfast Inns. “Why would we risk those jobs?”
According to the Outdoor Industry Association, outdoor recreation supports 82,000 jobs across Arizona, generates nearly $350 million in annual state tax revenue, and produces almost $5 billion annually in retail sales and services across Arizona.