Las Vegas Sun

August 18, 2022

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Letter to the editor:

Grand Canyon needs protection

An aerial tour of the South Rim of the Grand Canyon.

An aerial tour of the South Rim of the Grand Canyon.

My family has lived and worked in Southern Nevada for four generations, and like so many of those who have been raised here, we have come to feel deeply connected to the geography of the West. One of the greatest defining features of the West is the Colorado River and the magnificent gorge the river has carved: the Grand Canyon. Las Vegas has become the jumping-off point for millions of visitors to the Grand Canyon National Park, while the river has given us a safe and reliable water source for all of our needs.

The river and the canyon are more than symbols of the great American West, they are economic engines that provide jobs for thousands of people in Southern Nevada.

Today, unfortunately, the Grand Canyon and the quality of the water in the river are threatened by a misguided effort to allow uranium mining just a hundred miles northeast of Las Vegas, upstream from Lake Mead. As a young person attending school in Colorado, I saw the effects of uranium mines established decades ago. Today, we still have toxic and radioactive contamination leaching into the river from those mines. We do not need to see new mines even closer to Lake Mead, contaminating our water supply and disrupting the scenic wonder of the Grand Canyon.

The Interior Department has proposed a 20-year moratorium on new uranium mines near the Canyon. That’s a good start. Some in Congress from Arizona and Utah want to overturn the decision. Our congressional delegation on both sides should oppose that effort, protect the Grand Canyon, and preserve our drinking water supply.

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