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4/19/2012 6:01:00 AM
Mohave County follows through on federal lawsuit
Battle is over the elimination of new hard-rock mining claims near the Grand Canyon
BUTCH MERRIWEATHER/CourtesyCounty Supervisor Buster Johnson

County Supervisor Buster Johnson

Suzanne Adams-Ockrassa
Miner Staff Reporter

KINGMAN - Mohave County is making good on its threat to sue the federal government over the elimination of new hard-rock mining claims near the Grand Canyon.

Attorneys for the county and Quaterra Alaska, Inc. filed a lawsuit against the U.S. Department of the Interior, Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar, the Bureau of Land Management and BLM Director Robert Abbey Tuesday.

After studying the situation for nearly three years, the federal government announced in January that it was removing one million acres surrounding the Grand Canyon National Park from all new hard-rock mining claims, including uranium. The part of Mohave County north of the Grand Canyon - the Arizona Strip - is known for its rich uranium deposits. The owners of existing and operating mining claims on file with the federal government will still be able to mine.

The government withdrew the land from new mining claims to protect the natural beauty of the area, historical sites and water sources such as the Colorado River.

Quaterra asked the county in March if it would consider partnering with it in a lawsuit against the federal government. The company says it has invested more than $12 million, approximately 30 percent of the company's total exploration expenditures for North America, in the area.

The company also claims that the Bureau of Land Management, which was responsible for the report that led to the removal of land, did not follow federal guidelines when creating its report. The report itself contradicts the department's reasons for withdrawing the land, according to the company.

Partnering with the county in a lawsuit lets Quaterra argue that it not only suffered economic damages from the mining ban, but also that the BLM didn't follow the federal government's National Environmental Policy Act and Federal Land Policy and Management Act when it produced the report.

The lawsuit states that the government also ignored science and facts and deprived the county, as well as Arizona, of "tens of millions of dollars in revenue and jobs, further inhibiting the state and local government efforts to recover from the worst economic recession in 80 years."

Supporters of the ban say that such claims are false, and the damage to tourism jobs from uranium mining is a greater threat to the state's economy.

"It's a sorry state of affairs when this county government has to sue the federal government," said Mohave County Board of Supervisors Chair Buster Johnson. "We are using our finite resources to pay for a lawsuit to stop the feds from taking our land and our economic future.

"Salazar does not have the authority to do these things. This kind of taking of land, power and oversight from states, counties and legal investors can only be accomplished through an act of Congress," he said.

Proponents of the ban are concerned about the impact of mining on groundwater resources in the area, as well as damage to the natural beauty of the area.

Johnson claims that new uranium mining methods are much safer and more environmentally friendly than the methods used 50 years ago.

A memo from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency dated June 2, 2011 states that the department is reviewing its regulations concerning the recovery of in-situ uranium mining sites. In-situ mining is when a company bores a mine into the ground and uses compressed fluids to bring the ore to the surface, rather than open pit mining, which scrapes off the top of the soil to reach the ore.

According to the lawsuit, more than 4.36-million acres of federal land in Arizona are closed to mineral development.

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Reader Comments

Posted: Thursday, July 19, 2012
Article comment by: Marthanan Bonelli

Web site(chemtrails and chemtrail planes-chemtrail spraying and...)Has wonderful information and world wide video of chemtrail depopulation crime against humans.Chemtrails harm people,plants,soil,air,and all living things.War over our heads.Look up ( you for stopping this madness finally.

Posted: Wednesday, July 18, 2012
Article comment by: Marthanan Bonelli

Thank goodness this man is waking up America to this long time war crime taking place above us.I filmed heavy chemtrailing last year in the tiny town of Bazine Kansas.Watch (U.S.A. Kansas chemtrails)by Dreamadman.I said it was filmed in Manhattan Kansas to protect my family.This chemtrailing is most likley killing the farm land,and drying out soil.150 dozen ears of corn only harvested from 4 acre farm that was good.Farmer has been growing corn for fifty years.I saw jets spraying chemtrails in area and filmed it.(Chemtrails planes and Chemtrail planes spraying...)California web page has mind blowing chemtrailing facts that need to be known and accepted by everyone.Microwave cell phone towers,HAARP,and chemtrailing go hand in hand.Depopulation and N.W.O. agenda 21.G.M.O. seeds ruin organic farms,and are in chemtrail spray.Lets not turn into shepple.On with the lawsuit.

Posted: Thursday, May 3, 2012
Article comment by: Penny Poore

1. Uranium has already been mined safely and without contamination from mining. 2. Uranium is located along the walls of the Grand Canyon and as erosion occurs that uranium naturally falls into the river or on the beaches. This is a natural process not caused by mining. 3. These mining projects are NOT in situ mines. These mines are about 20-25 acres or about the amount of space taken by your neighborhood Wal-Mart. 4. Mining companies must reserve money and the Feds hold onto it until a mine has been reclaimed and the reclamation is satisfactory for years before releasing any monies not used in reclamation. 5. The mines that still exist from the 50s are mines that were directly related to the Federal Government. If they haven't cleaned them up you should be contacting them.

Canadian Companies? Perhaps all companies in Kingman that are not U.S. companies should be shuttered since "all the profits will leave the country."

Please take some time to think about how few natural resources we can mine in this country. There are strict federal and state laws regarding all mining. There is a great need for us to manage our own resources. Or we can pay 800-1000 for our cell phones since we have to import ALL components. I ask you to stop and think.

Posted: Saturday, April 21, 2012
Article comment by: Joe Bardswich

I wish to comment on your article “Mohave County follows through on federal lawsuit”:
For 100 years this country has been the #1 economic power in the world and the #1 producer of minerals. Not a coincidence! One goes hand in hand with the other.
This country is the world’s technological leader. If we can put a man on the moon, we can mine in an environmentally safe manner, (and we should insist on it).
This country has been the world’s bastion of liberty and free enterprise. Investment in this country is attractive due to political stability and respect for property rights. The arbitrary closure of +1 million acres of land to mineral exploration and development in Mohave County detracts from the attractiveness of investing in this country.
Wages in the mining industry in Arizona are 67% higher than the State’s average. Tourism should be encouraged, but it is hard to raise a family on part time work at minimum wage. Recently, I heard Congressman Pastore speak about growing up in a mining town in Arizona. Benefits he cited were job stability, top-notch schools, and health care provided by the mining companies. Mohave county benefits from the mining industry.
Mining has been good to me for more than 40 years. In January I started working for a Canadian company (Northern Vertex) which has spent more than $3 million in Mohave County in the past year, strictly on exploration. Mining and exploration are risky investments, but I have faith in the people who run the company. I purchased a home in Bullhead City, (just closed this past week), I furnished it buying from Bullhead City stores, I use local contractors. Prior to the purchase I patronized local motels and restaurants. I am only one person. I have friends at the Gold Road Mine where there are more than 150 employed. They pay local taxes, they spend locally.
I commend and thank the County for joining in on the lawsuit.

Posted: Friday, April 20, 2012
Article comment by: Jim Consolato

Buster's Gone, But Here to Stay !

Now if your an environmentalist you may agree with closing the land previously used for mining uranium.
If you happen to be into pure Mohave County Economics you might disagree with closing the land to mining.
If you are a person who puts human health and welfare above both economics and the environment, then you will probably again agree with the Federal Government. We each must decide where we stand on this issue but something we should not stand for is allowing County Supervisor Buster Johnson to use this issue as a springboard to further his political career.

At the BOS meeting of 3-12-12 Buster Johnson rushed through the resolution which authorizes the BOS to take any and all action necessary to fight the Federal Government. This is no less than a daunting and almost impossible task. What does "any and all action necessary mean"? To me it means an open Mohave County checkbook that will allow Buster Johnson to travel around the county, using this resolution as an excuse, to further his political career.

In the past Mohave County has paid for Johnson's association with many interstate. This sounds like a great resume for furthering his career at the expense of Mohave County. If all this activity was meant to enhance the financial situation of our county, where are the results? We are told monthly the county has little or no money to spend on creature comforts such as good roads, senior programs and as you know this list goes on and on. How much money and time have we invested in this arrogant Supervisor with a notorious and controversial past? Buster is looking out for Buster and he is taking us all for a ride. Sadly the minute this man can advance himself and move on he will leave us all without even a look back and if he can't he is here to stay.

Posted: Friday, April 20, 2012
Article comment by: One more reason

Folks we have to vote these incumbants OUT. The people/taxpayers have no business paying for a mining companies lawsuit.

Im sure behind the scene ol Buster has his kickback coming. Probably out of the same tax money to be used on this lawsuit.

Our county is broke. Between buying new SUV's for every officer each new model year, funding Stripper club pot busts, and filing rediculous lawsuits to delay the states Marijuana dispensary permits. Theres nothing left.

So now "we the taxpayers" should cover a mining companies lawsuit so they can rape the land, leave an environmental nightmare, and then send all the profits out of state.

They really think we are as dumb as that.

Posted: Thursday, April 19, 2012
Article comment by: Great Work

Since ive got several mines around the area and since im involved in the mining industry and i BEING a miner i say WAY TO GO BUSTER! Thank you for standing up for the mining rights! :)

Posted: Thursday, April 19, 2012
Article comment by: Betty Benson

All over this country and world corporate big money and politicians have been raping and pillaging our natural resources irregardless of the detrimental effects of their mining or refining on the local environment. There are thousands of stories - just go on the internet. It's about time we stopped them once and for all before we lose the grandeur of nature in this beautiful state. What's 1,048 jobs (the figure of created jobs Buster mentioned in a speech) compared to the destruction of our environment? It's all about money in the pockets and pure, unadulterated greed.

Posted: Thursday, April 19, 2012
Article comment by: Jim Consolato

[Comment deleted for excessive length]

Posted: Thursday, April 19, 2012
Article comment by: Throwing Money Away

I'm glad to see that Mohave County has so much extra money laying around that we can afford to throw it away. I completely agree with the other posters here that we should just let the mining companies do the suing if they want to. Why should we spend taxpayer money to open the way for the mining companies to spoil the land and take the profits back to Canada? Then we can spend even more money cleaning up the mess.

Posted: Thursday, April 19, 2012
Article comment by: Medoozy A. Chloridiot

Supervisor Johnson really needs to get the dollar signs out of his eyes. Potable water is becoming a scarcer resource than most strategic minerals that one can think of.
Need I remind everybody of the water situation that Chloride has been in for the last twenty years?

Posted: Thursday, April 19, 2012
Article comment by: Patriot WES

The constant complaint is Mohave Co. never has enough money for anything. Now they have enough money to sue the Feds? They will never win this suit because of Holder. The Attorney General and the regime do not care about laws or rules. They Feds will win this case! The County complains when its residents sues the county over freedon of speech, etc, but it will end up spending thousands of dollars on this dumb lawsuit. All to try and gain 6 or 8 jobs and all of the money will go to Canada anyway. once again, Vote them all out in 2012!

Posted: Thursday, April 19, 2012
Article comment by: mr. parker

Why are the democrats so anti-worker? It is truly a war on workers and taxpayers.
First ANWAR,then Keystone, now mining for Uranium north of the Grand Canyon.
Why do democrats hate good paying jobs for working and middle class people?

In Wisconsin, not one democrat voted for an iron mining bill that would've provided thousands of jobs. Yet neighboring MN has been mining the same way for many years with no ecological damage.

Commisar Salazar can't let developers mine in an area near the Grand Canyon because of tourism, yet the failed obama energy plan with its resulting high prices for gasoline is killing tourism.
The Obama Regime's philosophy:"
"Keep 'em unemployed and on welfare." "Make them a victim and they're ours forever."

Posted: Thursday, April 19, 2012
Article comment by: Truth Balance And Order

I see Buster Johnson doesn't tell everyone the only companies that are currently minning on the Arizona Strip are Canadian companies. Guess where their profits are going? Canadian companies have a habit of mining and then packing up and leaving. This is exactly what they did with a bunch of gold mines in Mohave County.

Posted: Thursday, April 19, 2012
Article comment by: Donna W.

Another good reason not to vote for any of the incumbents for county if we didn't have enough already!

Posted: Thursday, April 19, 2012
Article comment by: Good Luck

Although I applaud any lawsuit against the Federal despots, I think the County is naïve about going up against any arm of the Obama regime with its unlimited taxpayer resources and resolve to limit or eliminate any harvesting of natural energy resources.

Posted: Thursday, April 19, 2012
Article comment by: Jerome Durham

Just a waste of time and money. There are hundreds of existing mining claims in that area already. New claims will not create jobs. This is all grandstanding by Buster. Too bad he cannot act on real issues, like Walker. Buster is all talk and wasted actions.

Posted: Thursday, April 19, 2012
Article comment by: Al DiCicco

The Federal Government should not control or own any State land or dictate to the States and counties. I am not a fan of fracking with dangerous chemicals or strip mining without proper reclamation. Closing 4.3 acres is a Federal land grab. Including in this project, if it occurs, there MUST be continual reliable monitoring of air and water quality and chemicals used for fracking and all MUST be public information.

Posted: Thursday, April 19, 2012
Article comment by: Arizona or Buster

What a surprise that almost all of the Repubs line up with the mining companies on fowling the Grand Canyon area with their plundering of the states resources. Why would they want to keep the most important asset in the state from the private sectors grubbing hands. Surly we can trust miners to take care of beautiful land. I think their record speaks for itself. Visit some of their closed mines and check out what the tax payers have to spend to try and put the land back the way it was before they let the friends exploit it. Buster must have received a very large check from the miners cause he sure has a big happy face in this picture.
Call me crazy but I say leave the canyon alone.

Posted: Thursday, April 19, 2012
Article comment by: Safety First

Buster Johnson, please explain how our water will NOT be contaminated directly or indirectly by this mining?

Posted: Thursday, April 19, 2012
Article comment by: Trained Observer

Thanks Buster for throwing away more of the county's money! If that company can spend $12 million, they can pay for their own lawsuit. Oh, but wait, if they allow mining won't this make about five more jobs in the county? When is the BOS going to really work to help people in this county? More of the old boy system at work here.

Posted: Thursday, April 19, 2012
Article comment by: Nana Jo

And how much is this going to cost the citizens of Mohave County? Let the mining companies do the suing. They are the ones that will profit from their mines. Mohave County government is constantly complaining they don't have enough money, raising property taxes and depriving their employees of decent wage increases.....This is a useless lawsuit!

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