The Corner

More ANWR v. Grand Canyon

From a reader:

Mr. Goldberg,   I keep hearing Mr. McCain say that he does not agree with drilling for oil in ANWR because he believes that ANWR should remain in a pristine condition, just like the Grand Canyon.  But this assertion either ignores or is ignorant of a rather significant historical fact about the Grand Canyon:  A private company mined uranium ore at the Orphan Mine on the south rim of the canyon from 1953 until either 1969 or 1972. (The National Park Service says mining operations terminated ‘69 while Arizona Radiation Regulatory Agency says ‘72; the link to the NPS community fact sheet on the Orphan Mine is http://www.nps.gov/grca/parkmgmt/upload/orphan1.pdf).  Since a company was able to mine radioactive uranium a half century ago in Grand Canyon National Park without destroying the park’s “pristine condition,” I believe it is reasonable to assume that with today’s significantly better technology, oil companies could drill in ANWR without destroying the refuge’s “pristine condition.”   Moreover, I cannot believe that Mr. McCain is ignorant of the fact that uranium was mined at the Grand Canyon.  He has hiked the canyon from rim-to-rim, and the old structures at the mine’s entrance remain intact and are clearly visible from Bright Angel Trail, the main hiking trail into the canyon from the south rim.  Indeed, my wife and I saw the mining structures and received a brief history about the mine from our guide when we hiked the canyon last June on our honeymoon (it was 133 degrees when we reached the canyon floor; we had a very romantic honeymoon).     Mr. McCain’s position on drilling simply infuriates me to know end.  Of course, given the alternative, he will receive my vote in November.   

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