Save those Grand Canyon postcards.
The monument may be changing if an initiative backed by the Koch brothers passes that will allow businesses to mine the area for uranium.
The Koch brothers are conservative mega donors known to support global trade and fight against climate change initiatives.
Their current proposition would allow one of their corporations, Prosper Inc, to begin mining for uranium near the canyon.
We believe the poor maintenance of mines out West combined with the violation of National Parks make this venture impossible.
Uranium’s main uses are the creation of nuclear power and nuclear weapons.
If the canyon was mined, the uranium would likely go to one of these two purposes.
Although the United States would benefit from cleaner energy, it’s impossible to surmise what portion of the uranium would go toward energy.
In addition, the United States is currently modernizing the majority of our nuclear arsenal, according to an Arms Control transcript.
This modernization calls for updating the launch systems as well as the warheads themselves.
Regardless of where the uranium would be used, mining the Grand Canyon is a direct violation of why the National Parks were founded.
The National Park Service mission is to preserve “the natural and cultural resources and values of the National Park System for the enjoyment, education and inspiration of this and future generations.”
Mining the Grand Canyon would restrict many people from enjoying and being able to visit the canyon.
Often when an area is being mined for uranium, the surrounding land is restricted to make sure the surface, as well as other creatures and people, isn’t poisoned.
No future generation will enjoy or be inspired from a fence declaring restricted access.
The majority of the American West is experiencing an unprecedented drought, reported National Geographic.
Mining near the Grand Canyon would likely require diversion of the Colorado River to another path.
This re-route would complicate water distribution for many American cities which rely on the river, such as Phoenix and Las Vegas.
Beyond diverting the river, the whole ecosystem could become toxic if the mining was not properly handled and cleaned.
Earlier this year, workers were attempting to staunch leakage from a gold mine but accidentally opened another passage allowing a million gallons of sludge to turn the Animas River a nauseating mustard yellow, reported Business insider.
It isn’t the first spill.
The West is littered with mines from the ‘70s, a time with little regulation and a lot of interest in mining.
A report from Earthworks found there are 557,650 abandoned mines across 32 states.
Cleaning up all of the waste from these mines is estimated to cost as much as $72 billion, CBS News reports.
Attempting to mine the Grand Canyon is another environmental disaster waiting to happen.
There are a number of mining accidents every year despite numerous safety precautions.
Governmental agencies don’t seem to have the funds or manpower to clean up the current mines.
If any disaster occurred we would lose the Grand Canyon and any semblance of the natural wonder it is.