The Grand Canyon is a part of our national heritage

Millions of Americans have experienced the jaw-dropping beauty and wonder of the Grand Canyon. Millions of us would love to go there someday.

But right now, the mining industry is pushing hard to open the land around the Grand Canyon to up to 8,300 claims to dig for uranium and other metals. With powerful backers and lobbyists in Washington, this isn't good news. That's why we're urging President Obama to deliver permanent protections, before it’s too late.

Can you imagine what more toxic mines would mean for this sacred place? 

Wildlife and wilderness would be disturbed as heavy machinery rips deep into the earth. Creeks and seeps would be contaminated by radioactive uranium and other toxic  mining wastes. Trucks carrying that uranium would roar down the very same road that tourists use to travel to the South Rim of the Canyon. One mine is just six miles from the national park’s doorstep.

We don’t even have to imagine—scars of past mining projects are already scattered across the Canyon.

Hikers in Grand Canyon National Park can’t drink the water from four different radioactively contaminated streams. When one mine reopened in 2009, more than 2 million gallons of highly contaminated groundwater were discovered in its deep shaft. All told, 15 springs and 5 wells within the Grand Canyon watershed are tainted with unsafe levels of uranium. 

Mines near the Grand Canyon risk more than natural beauty 

They risk lives. One study found that Navajo uranium miners in Arizona had a lung cancer rate that was nearly 29 times that of their neighbors. One of the proposed mines sits on top of an aquifer, the only water source for the Havasupai Tribe.

The Colorado River that flows through the Canyon is more than great place to raft and hike. It's a major source for crop irrigation and provides drinking water to 40 million people. 

The land provides critical wildlife corridors for iconic species like the mule dear. It is also home to 22 sensitive plant and animal species, some of which are found nowhere else in the world, like the Kaibab squirrel and native fish species such as the Humpback Chub. Already, 3 out of the Grand Canyon’s 8 native fish species are extinct and 2 are listed as critically endangered. 

We can’t erase the mistakes of the past

But we can prevent more contamination from harming the land and its inhabitants. Just in 2012, research and advocacy combined with our trademark grassroots action helped convince the president to suspend new mining projects near the Canyon.

The mining industry hasn’t given up the fight. The National Mining Association, which includes several foreign companies, has filed a suit to remove the moratorium. Public officials from four states support the suit despite the very real environmental, public health, and national security risks this litigation poses. And now, with help from the Koch brothers, they’re doing everything they can to keep the president from preserving this sacred place.

But together, we can stop any new mining leases

President Obama can permanently safeguard the Grand Canyon's land, heritage, and water with a single stroke of his pen—by declaring the Greater Grand Canyon Heritage National Monument. The Monument would protect 1.7 million acres of public land surrounding the Grand Canyon National Park. 

We know that broad support exists for such an action among likely American voters: 82% back monument establishment. But President Obama only has a few months left in office and pro-mining forces are fiercely opposing this idea. To convince the president to lead on this issue, we need to show him all the support we can right now.

Join our movement to protect the Grand Canyon today.

Issue updates

Blog Post

Time to ban the beads | Russell Bassett

We all want our teeth to be clean after brushing, and our bodies to be clean after showering, but did you know the products used in these everyday activities could be harming wildlife? Hundreds of commonly-used household products contain tiny plastic microbeads, which can be a big problem for our environment. 

> Keep Reading
Blog Post

Nothing to fear from clean water | Russell Bassett

Halloween is the annual time to celebrate all the creepy things that go bump in the night, but what's really fightening are the many very real threats to our waterways and drinking water. Nothing is more important to life than clean water, yet few things are taken more for granted. We turn on our taps or swim in a local lake without fear because we believe the systems are working to keep our water clean. The fact is, those systems don’t always work, and in many cases, are failing to keep water safe. 

> Keep Reading
Blog Post

Paris Climate Talks: The Who, What, Where, and Why. | Katie Hammer

On November 30th, leaders from around the world will sit down and make an international agreement on how each country will work together to cut global warming pollution.

> Keep Reading
Report | Wisconsin Environment Research and Policy Center

Summer Fun Index

Clean water is at the heart of summertime fun for many Wisconsinites. We swim at a favorite creek, fish in a nearby river, sail or kayak on the lake, or simply hike along a beautiful stream. As the summer draws to a close, Environment Wisconsin Research & Policy Center’s second annual Summer Fun Index provides a numerical snapshot of people engaging in water activities.

> Keep Reading

Pages

View AllRSS Feed