The Grand Canyon & Christian Faith
Over 6 million Americans visited the Grand Canyon last year, as the park celebrated its centennial anniversary, and made clear that this park is one of our greatest national treasures. This magnificent handiwork of our creator humbles us all in a way only nature can - leaving us in awe of the wisdom far greater than ours that conceived such wonder.
As anyone who has stood on the rim of the canyon will attest, it is not an overstatement to call a visit to the Grand Canyon truly life-changing. The park is also a place of rich and complicated history, as is so often the case with our treasured national sites. The fact that the park’s creation brutally infringed upon the land and sovereignty of the Navajo, Havasupai and Hualapai American Indian tribes; despite this fact, tribes have remained the park’s tireless champions, defending constant threats to their lands, waters, and livelihoods from proposed mining projects near the Grand Canyon.
It is our duty as Americans and as people of faith to both learn from our violent history and forge a different future by respecting the ancient relationships between American Indians and the Grand Canyon and preventing further erosion of their rights to these lands. In so doing, we benefit the entire nation by stewarding both our public lands and our public morals.
While public appreciation for the Grand Canyon has never been greater - especially in the middle of a crisis that reminds us how devastating it would be to permanently lose access to our public parks - threats to the Grand Canyon are almost as high. Vocal uranium mining companies have been consistently and publicly lobbying the White House since the start of this Congressional session, and their work is paying off. On April 24th of this year, the President’s Nuclear Fuel Working Group issued recommendations calling for the government to cut environmental laws and regulations, reduce protections on public-lands, and artificially boost our domestic uranium mining industry. One such public land protection that stands to be gutted is a 20-year ban on new uranium mining near Grand Canyon National Park, which the Interior Department issued in 2012 in light of the wide-scale economic and environmental damage already caused by uranium mining in our country. Opening up the Grand Canyon to mine a product that the market does not demand, while knowingly endangering the sacred sites, aquifers, and landscape of our greatest national treasure, is a senseless act. That is why Congress should pass the Grand Canyon Centennial Protection Act to make permanent the ban on uranium mining, honor our nation’s longest-standing inhabitants, and respect a staggering example of divine imagination made real.
To prevent short-term profit from plundering an ancient and beloved force of nature, encourage Congress to pass the Grand Canyon Centennial Protection Act. You can call (202) 224-3121 to be connected to your Senator or Representative.
Some suggested talking points to use when contacting your elected officials include:
* The American people trust our elected officials to make the best possible decisions for our futures and to truly serve the public interest. With all the information before us, it is clear that allowing uranium mining in or near the Grand Canyon is directly opposed to the public interest in every way. Mining would plunder our heritage, harm our people, and teach our children to recklessly spend what we have been given, rather than caring for our present and investing in our future.
* The harmful legacy of uranium mining is painfully visible in the serious health impacts to communities located near mining operations. Every life is sacred, and every life is equal; sacrificing entire communities to increased rates of cancer, kidney disease, and other forms of physical and emotional suffering for the sake of private profit is unthinkable. As people of faith, we ask you to instead stand on the side of caring for each other and for our creation, as we have been called to do. Regardless of your personal faith tradition, your legislative oath commits you to doing the same.
* During this time of crisis, more than ever, we need our elected officials to make things better - not worse. National security is a top priority for me and my family, meaning the integrity of our lands, waters, communities, and economy. Opening up one of our greatest national treasures to unnecessary risk is unacceptable at any time, but especially when we are already under attack in so many ways. Instead, we ask you to support the Grand Canyon Centennial Protection Act and provide Americans peace of mind knowing that amidst all this change and uncertainty, continued enjoyment of the Grand Canyon is not in question.