A coalition of officials in Arizona and Utah is urging the Trump administration to end a ban on new uranium mining near the Grand Canyon, The Guardian reported Monday.
The 20-year ban came into effect in 2012 as part of environmental protections passed during the Obama administration.
The officials are also pressing for the abolishment of national monument designations in Arizona, on the grounds they harm the local economy by limiting coal, natural gas and oil production, KNAU Public Radio reported.
The battle to restore mining and other activities near the national parks is part of a larger effort by conservatives to reverse protections on 640 million acres of public land in the U.S.
The officials said the U.S. Department of the Interior made an error in prohibiting new mining activity near the national parks due to "overly cautious" speculative environmental risks, Mining.com reported.
But supporters of the ban say new mining activity will likely boost the risk of uranium-contaminated water flowing into the national park. Grand Canyon Trust program director Roger Clark told The Guardian those who say the mining would not cause any environmental problems are incorrect, because "Every time we look for evidence, we find contamination, 100 percent of the time."
Environmental advocates fear Trump is eager to end the ban and allow mining in the area, because the president supported a congressional reversal earlier this year of an Obama administration rule that gave the public greater input on how land should be used, according to The Guardian.
Trump is also studying if national parks could be reduced in size and ordered a review of 27 national monument designations, both of which are seen as the first steps in allowing more mining near the national parks.
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