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Study on effects of uranium mining near Grand Canyon may end

| Thursday, March 8, 2018, 2:42 p.m.
In this June 7, 2013, fie photo provided by the U.S. Geological Survey, scientists, from left, Christine Dowling, Adam Benthem, and David Naftz collect soil samples on the Canyon Mine property in Arizona. More than a quarter of the way into a 20-year ban on the filing of new mining claims around the Grand Canyon, scientists say they don't have the data they need to show whether uranium negatively is impacting plants, animals and a water source for more than 30 million people.
In this June 7, 2013, fie photo provided by the U.S. Geological Survey, scientists, from left, Christine Dowling, Adam Benthem, and David Naftz collect soil samples on the Canyon Mine property in Arizona. More than a quarter of the way into a 20-year ban on the filing of new mining claims around the Grand Canyon, scientists say they don't have the data they need to show whether uranium negatively is impacting plants, animals and a water source for more than 30 million people.

FLAGSTAFF, Ariz. — U.S. scientists studying the effects of uranium mining around the Grand Canyon say President Donald Trump's budget proposal would halt their work.

The U.S. Geological Survey is leading a multiyear study meant to determine whether the region needs protection from new uranium mining claims well into the future. Right now, no one can stake claims on a 1 million-acre area surrounding the national park until 2032.

The Obama-era ban began in 2012 because of concern over uranium contamination in a river that serves 30 million people. It faced backlash from Republicans, and a portion of it is under review by the U.S. Forest Service.

Trump's 2019 budget proposal would eliminate funding for the USGS-led studies on water resources, dust, plants and animals in favor of other priorities.

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