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Congressman Rob Bishop

Representing the 1st District of Utah

Administration Caves to Special Interests and Places 20-year Ban on Uranium Mining

January 9, 2012
Press Release
Today, House Natural Resources National Parks, Forests and Public Lands subcommittee Chairman Rob Bishop (R-UT) conveyed his disappointment over U.S. Department of Interior Secretary Ken Salazar's announcement that the Administration will impose a 20-year ban on uranium mining on one million acres of land in northern Arizona.  Uranium is a necessary component in the production of clean, safe and affordable nuclear energy.

The uranium being withdrawn from production represents 40 percent of our nation's domestic uranium resources and the deposits contain the highest-grade existing in the United States.  According to a report conducted by the American Clean Energy Resources Trust, a ban on mining in this region could impact as many as 1000 jobs and more than $29 million in economic revenue.

"It is unconscionable that the Administration has yet again caved to political pressure from radical special interest groups rather than standing up for the American people.  Banning access to the most uranium rich land in the United States will be overwhelmingly detrimental to both jobs in Utah and Arizona and our nation's domestic energy security.  While I'm disappointed that the Administration has again allowed politics to usurp sound science, unfortunately I am not surprised," said Congressman Bishop. 

The U.S. Department of Interior solicited a study evaluating the impact of uranium mining in northern Arizona region.  The study found little in the way of conclusive evidence suggesting that a permanent ban would be necessary.  During a recent committee hearing on legislation to prevent the withdrawal, Congressman Bishop questioned Bureau of Land Management (BLM) Director Bob Abbey about the findings of the DOI's Environmental Impact Study (EIS.)  Director Abbey responded by stating that, "The draft EIS stated that there was incomplete and unavailable information that added uncertainty to the analysis and cited potential risk from mining."

"The Administration spent nearly three years conducting an extensive study on the impact of mining in the region, done in addition to many other past studies, which resulted in ‘incomplete and unavailable information'.  In light of these findings, or lack thereof, there is clearly not enough evidence to justify this radical decision.  Lacking the scientific evidence to support this ban, the Administration opted to bypass congress in order to unilaterally impose bad policy.  It's a pattern we've come to expect from the President.  When he and his cabinet want to enact their radical political agenda, they often do so without public input or consideration for those who will be harmed the most.  As history has proven, production of our abundant domestic resources and environmental stewardship are not mutually exclusive.  We can achieve both for the benefit of all," Bishop Added.  "As we have done to address so many other inanely wrongheaded decisions that have come from this Administration, we'll fight this one too.  I will work with my colleagues in both the House and the Senate to ensure that the Administration is held accountable for ignoring the priorities of the American people."