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Grand Canyon uranium bill heads to Senate committee for revision, amendments

Legislation that would ban uranium mining near the Grand Canyon will go before a Senate committee Thursday.

But the bill’s fate is still up in the air.

Polls show that a majority of Arizona residents oppose uranium mining near the Grand Canyon.

A ban on new mines took effect in 2012, and Congressman Raúl Grijalva has introduced a bill that would make it permanent.

The legislation will go before the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee for amendments.

Backers say that’s as far as the bill has ever gone in the Senate. Travis Bruner is with the Grand Canyon Trust.

“I do think there is a very good chance that this will be the time that the Grand Canyon Protection Act passes, and that we finally get a permanent uranium mining ban at Grand Canyon," Bruner said. 

The bill has the backing of Arizona’s senators but could face opposition from Republicans lawmakers.

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.