In recent years the mining industry has staged a dramatic comeback in the western states, driven primarily by rising oil prices across the globe. Natural gas exploration and drilling on public lands have perhaps garnered the most headlines, but the renewed hunt for uranium deposits holds the greatest consequences for the Grand Canyon region.
A fifteen-fold increase in uranium prices in recent years has led to the filing of thousands of mining claims, many of which are within ten miles of the Grand Canyon itself. Environmentalists and like-minded politicians are mobilizing to exclude the lands adjacent to Grand Canyon from mining activities. The impending legal tug-of-war on the uranium issue has the potential to rival the high profile battle to prevent the damming of Marble Canyon in the 1950s and 60s.