Target: U.S. District Judge, David Campbell
Goal: Celebrate ban upheld to protect the Grand Canyon
In 2012, former Interior Secretary Ken Salazar issued an uranium mining ban in the Grand Canyon, where it would protect the landscape from mining for 20 years. This ban angered the uranium mining industry, who sought the land for profits. It quickly led to lawsuits filed by this industry, accusing the former Interior Secretary of abusing public policy and violating federal laws. During that time, Force Change published a petition to support this ban so a national landmark wouldn’t be torn up by uranium mining. Fortunately, a federal judge ruled for Salazar, and upheld the mining ban for the next 20 years. Celebrate this decision to protect one of the defining geological features of the United States.
The 5,000 acres of uranium-rich land that Salazar protected sits just outside of the Grand Canyon is home to diverse animal species and Native American tribes. U.S. District Judge David Cameron ruled in favor of conservationists and the federal government because of the potential of uranium contamination in the canyon’s water supply. Judge Campbell also stated that he couldn’t find evidence that the ban violated any federal laws, even if Salazar never sought Congress’s approval to withdraw the land from prospective uranium miners.
Uranium has been used as a source of energy for decades, and yet scientists still have not found a way to safely recycle its waste product. This energy is not renewable, nor is it safe for the environment. The United States should be shifting its focus away from dirty and hazardous materials and instead pursue renewable resources that do not place our environment and living creatures in harm’s way. Celebrate this victory and thank Judge Campbell for ruling in favor of conservationists.
Dear Judge Campbell,
I applaud your decision to rule in favor of a 20-year ban on uranium mining in the Grand Canyon, protecting this sacred and beautiful national treasure for the next few decades. I am writing this letter to thank you for siding with the federal government and conservationists; the Grand Canyon is one of the most well-known and stunning natural landmarks in the United States.
As you may know, waste from uranium mining is hazardous and cannot be safely recycled. Mining, whether it be for uranium or for coal, is an operation that disturbs the land and its living creatures. The noise, the pollution, and the drilling itself can drive away animals essential to the land’s ecosystem. I am glad that you’ve taken this environmental issue into consideration. I ask that you continue to view future issues with the same perspective, as our environment should be cherished and protected by all human beings.
[Your Name Here]
Photo credit: Olivier via Wikimedia Commons