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Havasupai Tribe asks Biden administration for support on Pinyon Plain Mine issue

When President Joe Biden ran for office, he pledged support for tribal communities. Now one Arizona tribe is calling on Biden to fulfill that pledge.

The Havasupai Tribe has written a letter to the secretary of Energy asking her to exempt Pinyon Plain Mine, located near the Grand Canyon, from a uranium subsidy program. The tribe, which lives inside the Canyon, fears that the program, along with rising uranium prices, might bring the mine into production, which could contaminate the region’s groundwater.

Stuart Chavez, a member of the Havasupai Tribe, said the tribe has battled the mine for decades.

“We’re protecting the water, we’re protecting the earth, we’re protecting all elements that are very dear to not only our tribe but also Mother Earth,” Chavez said.

Although the war in Ukraine has led to higher prices, industry analysts say the U.S. has enough uranium stockpiled to last for well over a decade.

Ron Dungan has lived in Arizona for more than 35 years. He has worked as a reporter, construction worker, copy editor, designer and freelance writer. He's a graduate of the University of Iowa, where he was a member of the undergraduate Writers’ Workshop, and has a master’s in history from Arizona State University.Dungan was an outdoors reporter and member of the storyteller team at the Arizona Republic, where he won several awards, and was a contributor on a border project that won the 2018 Pulitzer for explanatory reporting.When not working, Dungan enjoys books, gardening, hanging out with his German shorthaired pointer, backpacking and fly-fishing. He's a fan of the Arizona Cardinals and Iowa Hawkeyes.