Monday, May 15, 2017

Follow the Water

Grand Canyon-Parashant National Monument

The 45th president of the United States Department of the Interior has just short listed the Grand Canyon-Parashant National Monument for decommissioning.  It is on the list of natural treasures under review. Removing it from National Monument status would remove this region to toxic uranium mining. The uranium mining lease was actually entertained first by the State Department under the direction of Hillary Clinton, and was to be let to a consortium which included Russia.

The beauty of this land

There are so very many reasons to protest this move by our politicians , The awesome beauty is just a small fraction of those. And if your concept of what a uranium mine looks like is a shaft into the ground with all the workings hidden from view let me say you are wrong as the picture below indicates. And it does not go away when the mine is closed. Even the waste hauled out of the mine is radioactive and must be constantly washed with water to keep it cool. Water which goes into the aquifers below all western lands. It seeps through canyon walls and the sandstone and goes into the precious few rivers which cross the land.

Uranium mine in New Mexico

I want to protest this move by the despot in office currently because of the water. As I have stated in this blog platform before the next war will be over water. It is a resource we cannot live without. And while there may be alternate sources of energy there is no alternative to water. Grand Canyon-Parashant National Monument is in the Colorado River watershed. What happens there drains into the biggest river in the southwest.

The water from the Colorado River goes into Lake Meade, a major water recreation area, and is used by Colorado for irrigation of its crops. Phoenix has built a canal to siphon some of this precious resource to mist its sidewalks. Ultimately it goes to the Gulf of Baja. We have a treaty with the Mexican government about the amount and quality of the water it receives from us via this international river.

Colorado River as seen from the cliffs of the monument

Tailings from uranium mines retain 85% of the radioactivity of the ores which are mined. And uranium can have a half-life of 5,730 years. So it is possible, if this mine is allowed, that your strawberries will glow in the dark for millenniums. 

Take another look at the map beginning this article. The blue line at the bottom edge is the Colorado River. And canyons and streams in the monument drain into it. Those are the visible parts of the watershed. The west also has the below ground parts of the watershed. 

This is about so much more than beautiful scenery or, if you will, just more red rock. This is about the water. Please protest this action by the Department of the Interior.

Department of the Interior
1849 C Street, N.W.
Washington DC 20240