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GOP-led bill opens up Grand Canyon area to mining

A group of Republican lawmakers from Arizona and Utah is renewing an effort to open up 1 million acres near the Grand Canyon to new mining claims.

The lawmakers announced legislation Wednesday that would end the Interior Department’s temporary ban on the filing of new claims that expires in December.

The group says Interior Secretary Ken Salazar’s intention to extend the ban for 20 years has nothing to do with protecting the environment but everything to do with killing jobs in the uranium mining industry.

The Interior Department says any claims about job losses are false. The ban doesn’t affect mining companies that can prove valid existing rights on a claim.

Previous efforts by lawmakers to prohibit or allow mining on the same acreage weren’t approved.

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