Jan 8, 2012 6:42 PM by Jacqui Heinrich
WASHINGTON (AP) - The Interior Department is moving forward with a plan to ban new mining claims on 1 million acres near the Grand Canyon, even as congressional Republicans try to block efforts to limit mining operations in an area known for high-grade uranium
Interior Secretary Ken Salazar is expected to finalize a 20-year ban on new mining claims on public land surrounding the Grand Canyon at an event Monday in Washington.
Salazar twice imposed temporary bans as officials studied the environmental and economic effects of a longer-term ban.
Conservation groups hailed the 20-year ban, first announced in October, as a crucial protection for an American icon. The mining industry and some Republican members of Congress called the ban detrimental to Arizona's economy and the nation's energy independence.