House OKs bill aimed at thwarting mines near Grand Canyon

FLAGSTAFF, Ariz. (AP) — The U.S. House has passed legislation that permanently would ban new mining claims around the Grand Canyon.

The vote Wednesday came as the mining industry pushes President Donald Trump to boost demand for domestic supplies of uranium, tax breaks and other financial incentives.

Environmentalists say mining in the Grand Canyon region would harm the environment and could contaminate water resources that serve millions of people.

The Obama administration put about 1,562 square miles (4,045 square kilometers) outside the boundaries of Grand Canyon National Park off-limits to new hard rock mining claims until 2032.

The bill sponsored by Democratic U.S. Rep. Raul Grijalva of Arizona would make that permanent.

It's not expected to have an easy ride in the U.S. Senate, which is controlled by Republicans who have opposed the effort.