As recently announced, the Department of the Interior has announced a probable 20 year ban on potential uranium mining in areas around the Grand Canyon. The plan would lock up 1 million acres, an area slightly larger than the state of Rhode Island. Note that none of these mines would take place in the actual Grand Canyon National Park, but in areas adjacent to it. It would seem that if you will not permit resource production on areas “adjacent” to a national park, you might as well denote that area as part of the park itself.
Uranium is almost exclusively used for the production of electricity in nuclear power plants, and the United States has had to import about 85% of its uranium each year. As an organization dedicated to encouraging a shift towards increasing the market allocation of both natural resources and energy markets, we believe that reliance on foreign sources of uranium is not necessarily harmful. However, limiting our domestic access to natural resources is assuredly harmful.
This ban is representative of the misguided approach towards resource use; one that believes government’s are capable of better decision making than the conglomerate of individual private actors. Federal land ownership in the United States is quite large. Arizona is a prime example: almost 50% of the land in Arizona is owned and managed by the federal government.
From the article, the CEO of Denizen Mines comments: “What is extremely frustrating for me is they’ve actually gone through the process and still say ‘no’,” he said. “It’s purely pandering to the environmental and popular vote.”