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Interior authority to ban new mining claims upheld

FLAGSTAFF, Ariz. — A judge has upheld the Interior Department’s authority
to ban new hard rock mining claims on federal land.

Interior Secretary Ken Salazar announced a prohibition last year on more than a
million acres near the Grand Canyon that are rich in high-grade uranium ore

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.

Mining advocacy groups are suing the federal government over the ban and asked
a judge to declare the act unconstitutional.

Wednesday’s decision by U.S. District Judge David Campbell clears the way for
other claims on environmental and economic impacts to be heard.

Officials expect fewer than a dozen mines to be developed under existing


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