Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Environment America: Grand Canyon Coalition

I met Lucinda Hohman, Midwest Field Organizer of Environment America, at the Call for Action Event two weeks ago. She has asked me to help forward this petition to stop mining in the Grand Canyon (see below). Please let me know if you would like to be included on this petition - Lucinda is hoping for 7 more signatures to add to her South Bend list!

From Environment America:

If you have been lucky enough to travel to the Grand Canyon, you will likely always remember the unparalleled natural beauty, from the jagged red cliffs to the winding Colorado River. Visitors from around the world come to admire our national treasure that is now facing a growing threat. Mining companies know that it is against the law in most cases to set up operations in the Grand Canyon, or any national park for that matter. Yet, incredibly, the current mining law that has been around for 135 years does allow mining operations right next door to our national parks. In the past five years, mining companies have staked more than 800 claims at the edge of the Grand Canyon, and with the price of gold increasing; the number of claims continues to grow.
Mining companies use a range of toxic chemicals to extract gold, silver, copper, and other minerals from the earth. In one mining process cyanide is poured over mounds of earth to extract low grade ore. This combined with other operations has led to fish kills, dead birds around mines, and fenced off areas of contamination. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has estimated that hardrock mining is the number one source of toxic pollution in the United States and that it has contaminated 40 percent of western watersheds.
Given the rush to stake mining claims at the edge of the Grand Canyon and other national treasures, there must be a process to prevent the worst effects of toxic mining from permanently damaging these lands that belong to all Americans.

  • The government must have the authority to stop any mine that would damage the natural resources of Grand Canyon National Park or other national parks.
  • A set of sensitive lands around the Grand Canyon and in other important areas must be placed “off-limits” to future mining activities, like national forest roadless areas.
  • Mining companies should pay a royalty for mining activities on public lands to provide a source of money to clean up the nearly 500,000 abandoned mines along the Colorado River and across the country.
  • The practice of selling our public lands for pennies on the dollar to companies for mining or unrelated development must end. The public lands at the edge of the Grand Canyon and around the country should stay in public hands.
  • Local governments, tribes, and citizens need the ability to designate certain areas unsuitable for mining, if they find it will negatively impact their communities. This will allow for other sensitive locations to be protected from toxic mining pollution.
  • Where mining is deemed appropriate on our public lands, mining companies must have a comprehensive and thorough plan to return the land to its original state and to assure that water pollution will not need ongoing treatment. With the number of new claims surrounding the Grand Canyon, this would ensure that toxic mining does not pollute this American treasure for decades to come.
To save the Grand Canyon and other public treasures for future generations, we need to protect all national parks and sensitive lands from the toxic affects of hardrock mining.

LuCinda Hohmann, Midwest Field Organizer
Environment America
Illinois and Indiana

Tom Anderson, Executive Director
Save the Dunes Council
Michigan City, IN

Jackie Smith
Associate Professor of Sociology and Peace Studies
The Joan B. Kroc Institute for International Peace Studies
University of Notre Dame
Notre Dame, IN

Michelle Verges
Assistant Professor
Department of Psychology
Indiana University-South Bend
South Bend, IN

Philip Lane Tanton, Organizer
Arisits United Against Injustice
Three Oaks, MI

Jessica Mikels
Michiana Community Currency
South Bend, IN

Kerry Koller, Head of School
Trinity School at Greenlawn
South Bend, IN

Barbara J. Koller, Director of Admissions
Trinity School at Greenlawn
South Bend, IN

Becky Reimbold, Owner
Just Goods
Social & ecological a-wear-ness
South Bend, IN


No comments: