Bishop Calls Uranium Mining Moratorium ‘Another Roadblock to Recovery’

U.S. Department of Interior (DOI) Secretary Ken Salazar today announced the Administration will continue to prevent any new mining on one million acres of federal land located near the border of Arizona and Utah, known to contain one of the nation’s most abundant high grade uranium deposits. In 2009, the Administration imposed a moratorium banning mining in this area, which is set to expire this summer. Congressman Rob Bishop (R-UT), Chairman of the House Natural Resources National Parks, Forests, and Public Lands Subcommittee, expressed his disappointment in the decision.

“Our country’s energy future remains in limbo because Secretary Salazar has chosen to placate his anti-energy special interest cronies. Instead of using his executive power to create policies that foster greater energy independence he has done the exact opposite, driving us toward increased reliance on foreign resources,” said Congressman Bishop.

There are currently 104 nuclear reactors in the U.S. that require uranium to produce clean, safe, affordable nuclear energy. The U.S. presently imports 90% of the total uranium used for nuclear energy production.

“Today’s announcement might be considered a win for people like former Secretary Babbitt, who recently called on Salazar to impose harsh new restrictions on energy producers and public land users.  However, I can guarantee that the local economies and thousands of unemployed workers that would have benefited from the creation of new jobs and substantial economic revenue do not see it this way.  It is certainly not a win for the American people,” Bishop added.

“Today’s decision robs us of an opportunity to help reduce energy costs and is yet another disappointing example of how the Obama Administration is either unwilling or unable to do what is necessary to achieve greater energy independence and economic stability.”

The one million acres (roughly 25 times the size of Washington, D.C.) targeted by today’s announcement contain 326-375 million lbs of domestic uranium, which is enough to generate electrical power for 40 million Americans over more than 22 years.

“It is a good week when the Department of Interior isn’t using its executive power to impose new regulations or mandates that hurt the energy industry and ultimately the American people,” Bishop concluded.  “This week clearly isn’t one of them.”

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