Public hearing focuses on job loss if mining on Arizona Strip is halted

arizona strip mining could be halted
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ST. GEORGE – The Arizona-Utah Coalition of Local Governments is currently fighting to keep the federal government from putting a stop to mining on the Arizona Strip.

St. George News reporter Mori Kessler is reporting on scene at a public hearing currently being held as officials from the Economic Coalition of Five Counties argues that shutting down the mining will create a loss of jobs in an economy that cannot afford any further unemployment.

“They are perplexed why [Interior Secretary Ken Salazar] would want to shut down the Arizona Strip to mining when Obama wants to go forward with nuclear power and create jobs,” Kessler reported from the meeting. “So far, the voice in opposition of mining is a Paiute Indian tribe in Northern Arizona and Citizens for Dixie’s Future.”

Kessler said the Paiute Indians are not in favor of removing minerals from the ground and exploiting them, and believe their tribe has been negatively affected by the mining. He said Citizens for Dixie’s Future wants to ensure there is a plan in place in case of large disasters because of the potential issues caused by uranium mining.

An Environmental Impact Study done by the federal government is the reported reason for wanting to conduct a 20-year ban on mining in the area. However, Kessler reports that the EIS does not show strong evidence of a problem and that any contamination was caused naturally by erosion.

Many of those in attendance argue against the 20-year ban, claiming land grabs in the ‘90s have already devastated the economy.

Copyright 2011 St. George News. This material may not be published or rewritten without written consent.

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