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U.S. Court of Appeals to Hear Back-to-Back Cases on Uranium Mining Threats to the Grand Canyon Region, Thursday Dec. 15 in San Francisco



Uranium mining on the plateaus surrounding Grand Canyon threatens creeks below its rims.  Uranium contamination from the Orphan Mine has rendered Horn Creek, between the popular Bright Angel and Hermit Trails, undrinkable.


Ted Zukoski, Earthjustice (303)

Neil Levine, Grand Canyon Trust (720)

Richard W. Hughes, Rothstein Donatelli LLP, (505)

Eric Bontrager, National Parks Conservation Association (202)

Sandy Bahr, Sierra Club-Grand Canyon Chapter (602)


San Francisco — The United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit in San Francisco will hear oral arguments Thursday, December 15 on two key cases involving uranium mining on public lands near Grand Canyon National Park.

In the first case, Havasupai Tribe v. Provencio, the Havasupai Tribe, Grand Canyon Trust, Center for Biological Diversity, and Sierra Club challenge the United States Forest Service’s decision to allow Energy Fuels Resources to reopen the Canyon uranium mine, which was initially approved in the 1980s and had been closed since 1992. The federal agency permitted this “zombie” mine to reopen without analyzing the mine’s environmental impacts in light of changed circumstances in the intervening quarter-century.

The Canyon Mine is located on the Kaibab National Forest, a few miles south of Grand Canyon National Park, and is within a one million acre area that was withdrawn from mining in 2012 due to concerns about uranium mining’s environmental and cultural threats to the Grand Canyon watershed.

2012 11 21 Canyon Mine aerial 2

Canyon Mine was approved with no new environmental review after being closed for a quarter of a century.

Richard Hughes of Rothstein Donatelli LLP will argue on behalf of the Havasupai Tribe; Neil Levine of Grand Canyon Trust will argue on behalf of conservation groups.

The second case, National Mining Association v. Jewell, involves mining and uranium industries’ challenges to the Interior Department’s 20-year ban on new uranium mining claims on public lands adjacent to the Grand Canyon.


Northern Arizona students protest uranium mining near Grand Canyon.

The ban was requested in 2008 by Arizona’s governor, local governments, American Indian tribes, recreationists, and conservation groups concerned about a uranium mining boom’s impact on groundwater, cultural resources, and the iconic landscapes surrounding the Grand Canyon. It was issued by then-Interior Secretary Ken Salazar in 2012. The U.S. District Court for the District of Arizona upheld the ban in two rulings, one in 2013 (decision here) and the other in 2014 (decision here), and the mining interests appealed.

The nonprofit law firm, Earthjustice, will represent the Havasupai Tribe, Grand Canyon Trust, Sierra Club, Center for Biological Diversity, and National Parks Conservation Association in defending the ban. Department of Justice attorneys will also defend the Interior Department’s decision.


What: Arguments in Havasupai Tribe v. Provencio and National Mining Association v. Jewell before the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals

Where: Courtroom 4, Room 260

               James R. Browning U.S. Courthouse

               95 Seventh St.

             San Francisco, Calif.

When: Approximately 9:30 a.m. PST, Thursday, Dec. 15, 2016


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Praise for Rep. Kirkpatrick’s Endorsement of Greater Grand Canyon Heritage National Monument


Thursday, September 30, 2016

Contact: Celia Barotz,, (928) 853-7295

Photo of House Rock Valley from Kaibab Plateau: trees, canyon

FLAGSTAFF, AZ — Rep. Anne Kirkpatrick (AZ-1) today announced her support of the proposed Greater Grand Canyon Heritage National Monument, signing on as a co-sponsor to the Greater Grand Canyon Heritage National Monument Act. Kirkpatrick joins a long list of those speaking out for a monument designation, including more than 20 area Tribal Nations, more than 400 local businesses, and local and national leaders.

“I applaud Rep. Kirkpatrick for standing with many people in Arizona and throughout the country who want to safeguard these lands from new uranium mines,” said Celia Barotz, Vice-Mayor of Flagstaff.

The proposal enjoys strong support in the state, with 4 in 5 Arizonans supporting protecting the public lands surrounding the Grand Canyon as a national monument– support reflected nationwide with 82% of people in favor of the proposal. Across the country more than half a million people have joined the call for action by President Obama.

“What’s good for the environment is also good for our economy. People travel from around the world to see an untouched Grand Canyon, not uranium mining operations,” said Ash Patel, president and CEO of Southwest Hospitality Management, LLC and past chairman of the Asian American Hotel Owners Association.  “Protecting Grand Canyon for future generations is dear to my heart. The step Rep. Kirkpatrick took today brings us one step closer to ensuring this natural beauty stays in its more rare form.”


Celebrate the Colorado River During Colorado River Days Flagstaff



For immediate release: Sept. 20, 2013


Contact: Alicyn Gitlin, Sierra Club Grand Canyon Chapter 928-774-6514; Diane Rechel, Museum of Northern Arizona 928-774-5211 ext. 273

Celebrate the Colorado River During Colorado River Days Flagstaff

Events around Flagstaff Examine our Cultural Connection to the River and its Future Oct. 1-8

Flagstaff, Ariz. (Sept. 21, 2013) – Events to inspire people to protect and celebrate the Colorado River will be held in Flagstaff during the 2nd Annual Colorado River Days, October 1- 8.

Hosted by the Sierra Club, Museum of Northern Arizona, and Grand Canyon Trust, events will include a film, lectures, a songwriting contest, storytelling, and a First Friday Art Walk gathering,

This year’s activities are designed to promote public discussion about proposed development along the river, water supply issues, and the relationship that northern Arizona residents have with the Colorado River.

The Bureau of Reclamation’s 2012 Colorado River Water Supply and Demand Study confirmed there are significant shortfalls in future water supplies when compared with predicted demands. Last month, the Bureau announced the first-ever changes in water delivery to lower basin states, in response to ongoing drought that has reduced reservoir levels to historic lows. The river no longer reaches its delta in the Sea of Cortez, and new pipelines and projects threaten to siphon even more water.

The Colorado River provides recreation, drinking water, and irrigation to millions of people. It stretches across 1,450 miles of land, carving into the earth to form beautiful landscapes such as the Grand Canyon. The river is home to many isolated and imperiled species including Colorado pikeminnow, humpback chub, and bonytail and razorback sucker.

“As demands on water use increase, we need to recognize Flagstaff’s connection to the Colorado River and discuss how we should protect it, not just because it’s integral to our economy, but also because of the incredible ecosystems that depend on the river and its floodplains,” explained Alicyn Gitlin, Conservation Coordinator for Sierra Club’s Grand Canyon Protection Campaign.

Schedule of events:

Tuesday, Oct. 1, 6:00 p.m. Film at the Museum of Northern Arizona (MNA), 3101 N Fort Valley Rd. My Canyonlands: The Adventurous Life of Kent Frost  MNA is pleased to host this event for Colorado River Days. Free admission.

Thursday, Oct. 3, 7 p.m. Colorado River Songwriting Contest at Uptown Pubhouse, 114 N. Leroux St. Come cheer on your favorite performers. Song submissions due Thursday, Sept. 26. To get more information, contact Alicyn Gitlin at 928-774-6514 or e-mail

Friday, Oct. 4, 6 – 8:30 p.m. at Heritage Square. Colorado River Celebration. Organizations connected to the River will host tables in the Square during October’s First Friday Art Walk. Get involved with a new cause, meet new friends, and learn something new. Musical performance by Ed Kabotie.

Saturday, Oct. 5, 9 a.m. – 4:30 p.m. Museum of Northern Arizona, 3101 N. Ft. Valley Rd. 3rd Annual Grand Canyon Authors Symposium: Of Lines and LayersAuthors explore the Grand Canyon through words and images. Authors include Lori Rome, Midji Stevenson, Bronze Black, Rick Kempa, Naseem Rakha, Christa Sadler, Tom Martin, Seth Muller, Stephen Hirst, Heidi Blankenship, Danny Rosen, Jean Rukkila, Ann Weiler Walka, and Margaret Erhart. Included with admission to the Museum of Northern Arizona.

Saturday, Oct. 5, 5:30 p.m. at the Grand Canyon Trust, 2601 N. Fort Valley Rd. Stories from the Confluence. A very special night featuring storytellers who hold a special place in their heart for the Confluence of the Little Colorado and Colorado Rivers, including families who live there and local yarn spinners. BBQ potluck starting at 5:30 p.m., with campfire stories 6:30-8:30 p.m. Burgers, brats and campfire provided. Please bring a story and a side dish to share. BYOB.

Sunday, Oct. 6, 11 a.m. Morning talk at the Zane Grey Ballroom (upstairs) at the Weatherford Hotel, 23 N. Leroux St. Eric Balken of Glen Canyon Institute will focus on Glen Canyon and the Grand Canyon, exploring the ecological, economic, and social importance of the Colorado River as its existence is reshaped by demand, drought and climate change. With an ever-growing population and projected reduction in future flows, Colorado River water is evolving from an abundant resource to one of great scarcity and value. The discussion is followed by a Glen Canyon Institute social gathering: Meet GCI members and learn about the organization.

Monday, Oct. 7, 6 p.m. at the Coconino Center for the Arts, 2300 N. Fort Valley Rd. The Future of the Colorado River: Presentations and panel discussion by those trying to plan for future conservation and use of the river. Ask questions and offer your thoughts.

Tuesday, Oct. 8th, 6 p.m. at Museum of Northern Arizona, 3101 N. Ft. Valley Rd. The Future of the Colorado River: Presentations and panel discussion by those trying to plan for future conservation and use of the river, including Ron Doba of the Colorado Plateau Water Advisory Council, James Duffield of the Hopi Tribe Water Resources Program, Deanna Greco of Grand Canyon National Park, and Eric Balken of Glen Canyon Institute. Ask questions and offer your thoughts.

For Colorado River Days Flagstaff information, go to

The Museum of Northern Arizona is at 3101 N. Fort Valley Road in Flagstaff, Arizona. For information, go to or call 928-774-5213.


What do you think of the dam flood?

Glen Canyon Dam Experimental Flood: Success or Failure?

Did the Feds aim low so that success could be called?  Is this a band-aid on a trauma victim?  Or should we celebrate?  It depends who you ask.

Arizona Republic: Feds’ Grand Canyon Flood a Success

Standard-Examiner: Grand Canyon Flooding had Mixed Results

Living Rivers News: Controlled Flood in Grand Canyon a Dud

“Nobody asked me,” says the pikeminnow.


USFWS photo.

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