Stop Pinyon Plain Mine: Protect and Defend Mother Earth Against Uranium Mining, Milling, and Transportation

The Indigenous Environmental Network is in solidarity with the Havasupai Tribe, the “People of the Blue-Green Water” and other tribal leadership from the Grand Canyon Coalition, including the Hopi Tribe, Hualapai Tribe, Kaibab Paiute Tribe, Las Vegas Band of Paiute Tribe, Moapa Band of Paiutes, Paiute Indian Tribe of Utah, Navajo Nation, San Juan Southern Paiute Tribe, Yavapai-Apache Nation, Pueblo of Zuni, and the Colorado River Indian Tribes and all protectors of the sacred Baaj Nwaavjo I’tah Kukveni – Grand Canyon National Monument and the great Colorado River from all current and future uranium mining, milling and transportation.  

The Arizona Department of Environmental Quality (ADEQ) did not properly consult and inform Tribes when they approved the permits for the Pinyon Plain uranium mine, which will directly impact the Havasupai water source and their sacred landscape of Red Butte. The Havasupai Tribe and many other Tribes have repeatedly said NO! to uranium mining, that includes the Pinyon Plain mine, owned by Energy Fuels Inc. We support the Tribal Nations that urge the Governor of Arizona, Katie Hobbs, to close the Pinyon Plain uranium mine by invalidating the permits issued by the Arizona Department of Environmental Quality (ADEQ) as their direct supervisor.

Pinyon Plain Mine, formerly known as Canyon Mine, uses water cannons to evaporate water from its holding pond near the mine shaft. A federal court ruled Feb. 22 that the mine could continue operations at their location approximately six miles from Grand Canyon National Park. (Photo Credit:

The transportation route for the Pinyon Plain uranium ore will be routed through the western Navajo and Hopi Nations to the White Mesa mill located in southeastern Utah, on the ancestral homelands of the Ute Mountain Ute Tribe. The transportation route violates the Navajo Nation’s Radioactive Materials Transportation Act of 2012 which prohibits the transporting of new uranium ore through Tribal lands. The transportation route is currently being prepared, due to state and federal right of ways. Energy Fuels Inc. estimates hauling up to 12 trucks per day, each carrying 30 tons of uranium from the Pinyon Plain mine to the White Mesa mill. 

The Ute Mountain Ute of White Mesa have been fighting for years for the closure of the White Mesa uranium mill, also owned by Energy Fuels Inc. The White Mesa mill is the last operating conventional uranium mill in the United States. There are many community concerns of water, soil, and air contamination, including the lack of safeguards for emergency responses from radioactive and toxic exposure risks. These concerns and risks are shared across uranium impacted Tribal and non-Tribal frontline communities throughout the country.

The 1872 Mining Law is a grossly outdated law that has allowed the exploitation of mineral resources by giving a majority of the power to the mining industry. Hard rock mining is one of the major polluters in the world, yet in the United States the 1872 Mining Law has no environmental protections. This law allows mining companies to gain huge swathes of public lands at a small price and pay no royalties to the government. As a result, there is a slow stripping away of natural resources and power from the communities by extractive industries who then have a heavy influence to monopolize the local economic development.

This is how the mining industry is able to hold Tribal nations and their grassroots communities and non-Tribal frontline communities hostage and capitalize off of them.  The uranium mining boom was fed by the Cold War, the Manhattan Project, and the overall military industrial complex.

In recent years the price of uranium has doubled, the last peak in price was in 2007. At COP28 more than 20 countries from four continents launched a declaration to triple the nuclear energy capacity by 2050. Within the United States the newly approved Nuclear Security Fuel Act promotes increasing the domestic supply chain, which means risks of new uranium mining, milling, transportation and permanent waste. And in Arizona the Arizona Department of Environmental Quality (ADEQ) was granted primacy or authority by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to oversee mining permits, such as water permits. The EPA still has authority over air quality.  With the many pathways of exposure from uranium the Havasupai Tribe has asked for the monitoring of radon gas being released from the Pinyon Plain mine. Appallingly, the EPA is not monitoring the state of Arizona and the state of Arizona is not monitoring the mining company. The time to take action is now by contacting Arizona Governor Katie Hobbs to rescind permits approved by the ADEQ for the Pinyon Plain mine. Additional action must be taken by contacting the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Office of Environmental Justice and asking them to enforce the monitoring of the actions of states when it comes to uranium mining. For more information on the Pinyon Plain Mine such as the Plan of Operations for the mine please contact the Kaibab Forest Service which manages the public land the mine occupies near the Grand Canyon, at (928) 224-9365 and leave a message opposing the Pinyon Plain Mine.

The Indigenous Environmental Network supports all Tribal nations and communities who are opposing  the Pinyon Plain mine and all uranium mining, milling, and transportation. The inherent rights of Indigenous Peoples must be honored and we will defend our basic human rights to clean air, land, and water. The Pinyon Plain uranium mine must be closed and the radioactive waste removed immediately.  



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