The Trump administration is mulling whether to allow uranium mining near the Grand Canyon, as prices for the mineral fall to record-lows, according to The Hill.
The decision would reverse an Obama-era ban on mining in the national park and could have important political implications, as it would affect a number of battleground states.
The president will decide next month whether to approve a 2018 petition by uranium producers Energy Fuels and Ur-Energy to institute a 25 percent purchasing quota for domestic uranium.
Support for increased production is strong within the administration. Just last week, the Commerce Department recommended the government increase reserves of more than 35 “essential minerals,” including uranium.
“It’s not a secret that uranium mining companies have pined after the Grand Canyon for a long time. The last time there was a uranium price spike in 2007, over 10,000 mining claims were filed,” said Amber Reimondo, energy program director at Grand Canyon Trust.
Critics claim that lifting the ban in the near future would not make sense, since tourism in the Canyon is nearing a peak, and the price of uranium has fallen to its lowest in more than 10 years.
The average price of the radioactive minerals fell to $30 per pound last year, down $100 in 2007.