Uranium mine allowed to operate near Grand Canyon National Park

A federal appeals court upheld on Monday the government's decision to allow a uranium mine near the Grand Canyon National Park to resume operation.

Cronkite News reports that the three-judge panel of the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that no environmental protection laws had been violated by the Bureau of Land Management when it permitted the Arizona 1 mine to resume operation in 2009 followed a 17-year production hiatus.

Alan Gardner, co-chairman of the Arizona-Utah Local Economic Coalition, hailed the decision as advanced the interests of both the local economy and the nation as a whole.

"It's exactly what should be done," said Gardner. "The country needs the uranium."

Conservation groups claim, however, that the federal appeals court has set a dangerous precedent which will permit "zombie mines" to operate under redundant environmental regulations without proper oversight by the authorities.

"They are basically zombie mines that will live perpetually without ever being subject to new environmental reviews," says Taylor McKinnon, wildlands campaigns director with the Center for Biological Diversity.