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Judge to hear suit over Grand Canyon mining ban

Published on NewsOK Modified: March 1, 2013 at 3:01 am •  Published: March 1, 2013

PHOENIX (AP) — A federal judge in Phoenix will hear arguments Friday on a request to overturn the uranium mining ban on 1 million acres near Grand Canyon National Park.

The National Mining Association, Nuclear Energy Institute and Northwest Mining Association filed a motion to repeal the mineral withdrawal, adopted in January 2012 to protect the Grand Canyon's watersheds.

The U.S. Department of Interior is arguing to maintain the ban along with the Havasupai Tribe and environmental groups like the Sierra Club, Grand Canyon Trust, Center for Biological Diversity and National Parks Conservation Association.

The Federal Land Policy and Management Act gives the Interior Secretary the ability to withdraw 5,000 or more acres but not for longer than 20 years without congressional approval.

A lawsuit asks a judge to declare the act unconstitutional.