美保育團體興訟 反對大峽谷開採鈾礦 | 環境資訊中心

美保育團體興訟 反對大峽谷開採鈾礦

2008年03月18日
摘譯自2008年3月13日 ENS 美國,亞歷桑那州,旗竿市報導;楊佳珊編譯;莫聞審校

Vane礦業採勘公司早已在大峽谷附近開挖鈾礦。圖片來源:Vane Minerals美國三個保育團體12日聯合興訟,對林務局的決策提出質疑。此案緣於林務局批准在大峽谷國家公園幾哩外,設立高達39個新鈾礦鑽探場,讓全球大自然奇景之一──科羅拉多河中游的大峽谷,面臨鈾礦開採的威脅。

凱伯國家森林管理局在未先舉行公聽會與實施環評的程序下,逕行於2007年12月授意英國Vane礦業採勘公司,沿大峽谷國家公園南界的國有林,進行鈾礦鑽探作業;而以此決策為首,另外還有4項探勘計畫預計在該處執行。

生物多樣性研究中心、山巒協會(Sierra Club)、大峽谷信託基金(Grand Canyon Trust)聯合提出此訴訟,聲稱林務局依當局最寬鬆的標準規避公聽與環評,授權探勘鈾礦,已違反國家環境政策法案及另外兩條法例。他們認為林務局考量並不周全,包括:開採鈾礦引發的爭議、因近距離開採對大峽谷造成的嚴重衝擊、其他4項探勘計畫的累計影響,及德利信探勘公司(Denison Mines Corporation)有意在當地成立峽谷礦山等。

保育團體提出訴訟前,曾發表一份公開信,舉出授權探勘鈾礦的相關法律問題,希望林務局能撤銷該決策。但林務局回應表示,受限於「1872礦產資源法」規範,他們的權利不足以否決鈾礦開採案;但事實上,就實施公聽與環評而言,國家環境政策法案的規定並未牴觸礦產資源法。

可可尼諾郡監委會2月5日全體決議,反對在大峽谷國家公園附近及科羅拉多河流域從事鈾礦開採。該決議要求亞歷桑那州國會議員,永久撤銷在凱伯國家森林Tusayan Ranger區的聯邦土地及House Rock Valley土地管理局管轄的土地上,礦物開採、探勘及礦產品入市的權利。

決議中也提及,大峽谷國家公園是偉大的自然景觀之一,可可尼諾郡必然為了後代子孫,致力保護此地景。大峽谷國家公園也是可可尼諾郡的經濟命脈,每年吸引500萬名觀光客,並帶來可觀的經濟收益。

Lawsuit Seeks to Block Uranium Mining at Grand Canyon
FLAGSTAFF, Arizona, March 13, 2008 (ENS)

One of the great natural wonders of the world - the Grand Canyon of the Colorado River - is threatened by uranium exploration. Three conservation groups filed a lawsuit Wednesday challenging the approval of up to 39 new uranium drilling sites within a few miles of Grand Canyon National Park.

In December, the Kaibab National Forest granted British firm Vane Minerals approval to conduct exploratory uranium drilling on national forest lands along the park's southern boundary with no public hearing and no environmental review. It is the first of five such projects slated for the area.

Filed by the Center for Biological Diversity, Sierra Club, and Grand Canyon Trust, the lawsuit claims that the U.S. Forest Service violated the National Environmental Policy Act and two other laws when it approved the uranium exploration using a "categorical exclusion," the least rigorous analysis available to the agency.

The lawsuit claims that the Forest Service failed to consider the controversy surrounding uranium development, the significance of its proximity to the Grand Canyon, the overall cumulative impacts of four other future uranium exploration projects and the potential opening of Denison Corporation's Canyon Mine - all located in the same area.

The lawsuit follows a letter sent by the same three groups outlining legal problems with the approval and requesting that the Forest Service withdraw its decision.

The Forest Service claims it has little power to deny uranium development under the 1872 Mining Law. But the mining law does not go against the agency's separate obligation under the National Environmental Policy Act to carry out in-depth public and environmental reviews of such proposals.

On February 5, the Coconino County Board of Supervisors unanimously passed a resolution opposing uranium development on lands in the proximity of the Grand Canyon National Park and its watersheds.

The resolution requests the Arizona Congressional Delegation to initiate the permanent withdrawal from mining, mineral exploration, and mineral entry all federal lands in the Tusayan Ranger District of the Kaibab National Forest and the lands managed by the Bureau of Land Management in House Rock Valley.

Grand Canyon National Park is one of the world's great natural wonders whose protection for future generations has long been a priority for the citizens of Coconino County, the resolution says.

The Grand Canyon National Park also is an economic engine that now draws five million visitors per year who contribute to the economy of Coconino County, it says.

全文及圖片詳見:ENS