The Stream, March 13: U.S. Mining Industry Seeks Reversal of Uranium Mining Ban Near Tribal Water Supply

The Global Rundown

The U.S. mining industry hopes to reverse a uranium mining ban near the Grand Canyon, which currently protects the public lands that the Havasupai tribe relies on for water. Chinese environmentalists file suit against a proposed hydropower plant in Yunnan province.  Researchers find evidence of water and soil contamination at an alumina plant in Para, Brazil. Fears of Day Zero subside in Cape Town, but many poor residents remain without adequate water supply. Thousands march to protest the expansion Canada’s Trans Mountain pipeline. Torrential rains bring floodwaters and crocodiles to towns in Queensland, Australia.

“Is it worth gambling the future of the Grand Canyon to allow private companies to line their pockets when the risks to groundwater are unknown?” –Roger Clark, a program director at the Grand Canyon Trust, in reference to overturning an Obama-era rule that prohibits uranium mining on public lands adjacent to the Grand Canyon National Park. U.S. miners have asked the Supreme Court to reverse the ban, while conservation groups insist that the rule should stay in place until contamination risks are assessed. U.S. News & World Report

Latest WaterNews from Circle of Blue

What’s Up With Water – March 12, 2018 – “What’s Up With Water” condenses the need-to-know news on the world’s water into a snapshot for the start of the workweek. Listen to this week’s edition to hear coverage on groundwater conservation in Kansas, accusations of water theft from the Murray-Darling basin, and conflict in drought-stricken Somalia.

HotSpots H2O, March 12: Spotlight on Recent Unrest in Syria  – Violence is escalating across war-torn Syria, leading to civilian deaths, devastated infrastructure, and severe water shortages.

By The Numbers

300,000 barrels Current daily capacity of Canada’s Trans Mountain pipeline. A proposed pipeline expansion would boost capacity to 890,000 barrels of oil per day, a move that environmental groups and Native American tribes fear would threaten indigenous livelihoods, waters, and culture. Over the weekend, thousands of demonstrators gathered to protest the expansion. The New York Times

8 inches Amount of rain that fell at a major alumina plant in Brazil on February 16, causing red-colored water to flood nearby streets, homes, and rainforest. The flooding spiked fears of a toxic bauxite waste leak, and subsequent testing has revealed harmful materials, including lead, in the area’s soil and water. Reuters

Science, Studies, And Reports

The Beijing-based NGO Friends of Nature filed suit against a hydropower dam being constructed in China’s southwest Yunnan province. A report by the NGO claims that the project will destroy rainforests and encroach upon nature reserves. Yunnan officials have defended the dam, saying the project is “fully legally compliant.” Reuters

On The Radar

Careful water conservation has delayed Cape Town’s Day Zero for now, but many of the city’s poor townships are still struggling with chronic water scarcity. Even before the drought, water restrictions were common in Cape Town’s low-income suburbs, and the ongoing dry spell is further exacerbating the shortages. NPR

In context: Circle of Blue’s coverage of Cape Town.

Four days of torrential rains caused flooding throughout Queensland, Australia, last week, and receding flood waters are now revealing a new danger — crocodiles. The fast-moving floodwaters carried the crocodiles into many towns in the country’s north-east tip, an area that the Queensland government has declared a “disaster” zone due to intense flooding. The New York Times

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