Judge rules in favor of Energy Fuels' uranium mine near the Grand Canyon

April 9, 2015

Energy Fuels earned a legal victory when a a federal judge ruled in favor of the company's bid to restart operations near Grand Canyon National Park.

The Havasupai Tribe and groups including the Grand Canyon Trust and the Center for Biological Diversity sued the Forest Service for allowing Energy Fuels Inc.'s Canyon Mine to reopen under a 1986 plan of operations.

They also questioned the administration's validity test for the mine, necessary to determine whether it included economically recoverable uranium reserves.

The Canyon Mine site is within a 1 million-acre area around the national park where new mining projects are forbidden. Only valid existing claims can move forward.

It is also north of Red Butte, a cultural and religious site for the Havasupai people and other tribes. The area is a designated national cultural property.

Arizona U.S. District Judge David Campbell said the Obama administration's actions did not violate the National Environmental Policy Act or the National Historic Preservation Act, Greenwire reported.

Campbell also ruled that groups didn't have standing to fight the validity determination. They may now take their cause to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit.

Already there is related litigation over the Obama administration's mining limits around the Grand Canyon after Campbell ruled in its favor last year.

The U.S. Geological Survey is studying the effects of uranium mining ahead of the Interior Department deciding whether to extend its 20-year ban on new claims.

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