Bush boosts mining, hurts water

In a last-minute move, George Bush had a surprise for Western states.

The U.S. Bureau of Land Management released a hastily drafted regulation that seeks to end the authority of two congressional committees under the Federal Land Policy and Management Act (FLPMA) to block future uranium mining and exploration on sensitive public lands.

FLPMA was last used in June to prohibit new mining claims on more than a million acres in the Grand Canyon region for up to three years. There is a legitimate case to be made against the congressional authority, over whether Congress is exercising executive power, but instead of challenging it in court, the Bush administration is simply disobeying the law.

U.S. Rep. Raúl Grijalva of Arizona said, “This last-minute change puts at risk the health of millions of citizens of the West who rely on the Colorado River of the Grand Canyon for their drinking water supply, as well as visitors to the Park and tribal communities within and around the Grand Canyon.”

When Bush took office he was also faced with last-minute regulations hastily thrown together by the Clinton administration.