Obama, McCain, Salazar put spotlight on Grand Canyon uranium-mining claims

What better way to take your mind off the huge hole the American economy is stuck in these days than to visit the biggest hole in the nation?

President Obama and his family will take a trip the Grand Canyon Sunday, just days ahead of a congressional junket to the site led by Obama’s GOP opponent for the White House last year, Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz.

McCain will be joined by current Colorado Sen. Mark Udall and former Colorado senator and now Interior Secretary Ken Salazar, both Democrats, in the tour next week.

Salazar recently called a timeout on new uranium mining claims on public lands near Grand Canyon National Park while the administration weighs withdrawing up to 1 million acres of national forest from potential uranium mining and Congress considers revamping the 1872 mining law to provide hard-rock mining royalties and create a fund for mine pollution cleanups.

Rekindled interest in nuclear power around the world has led to a boom in uranium mining across the West, with new claims also on the rise in Colorado.

At a hearing in Montrose County Thursday night, the county commissioners weren’t expected to make a decision on a permit application for a uranium processing mill near Nucla, but they were likely to hear a lot of public outrage, including possibly from past critic actress Daryl Hannah.

According to the Montrose Press, a final decision isn’t likely until September.

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