Bishop blasts Salazar decision to prevent mining rich U.S. uranium deposits

Did you know the U.S. depends upon 104 nuclear reactors to produce about 20 percenbt of this country's massive and growing electrical power generation? Did you also that the U.S. imports roughly 90 percent of the uranium required to keep those 104 reactors humming?

That 90 percent figure exceeds even the nearly 70 percent of U.S. oil requirements that must be imported. President Obama calls U.S. dependence on OPEC for most of its oil a national security problem, and it is. But he has put the immense regulatory muscle of the federal government behind multiple intiatives designed to force U.S. consumers to stop using oil and instead use “clean power” resources such as solar, wind and thermal.

As misguided as Obama is on fossil fuels, he is even more off target regarding nuclear power and the uranium required to keep a nuclear power plant operating. Utah's Rep. Rob Bishop, chairman of the House Natural Resources National Parks, Forests, and Public Lands Subcommittee,  points to the latest decision by Ken Salazar, Obama's Secretary of the Interior, to continue barring mining of the rich uranium resources in Utah and Arizona.

Obama and Salazar imposed the bar in 2009, to prevent mining uranium in a one million-acre area of the two states that is roughly 25 times the size of the District of Columbia, according to Bishop.

Salazar's decision to keep the bar in place means an estimated 326-375 million lbs of domestic uranium – enough to generate electrical power for 40 million Americans over more than 22 years – will remain off-limits to U.S. energy producers and consumers.

“Our country’s energy future remains in limbo because Secretary Salazar has chosen to placate his anti-energy special interest cronies. Instead of using his executive power to create policies that foster greater energy independence he has done the exact opposite, driving us toward increased reliance on foreign resources,” Bishop said.

“Today’s announcement might be considered a win for people like former Secretary Babbitt, who recently called on Salazar to impose harsh new restrictions on energy producers and public land users. However, I can guarantee that the local economies and thousands of unemployed workers that would have benefited from the creation of new jobs and substantial economic revenue do not see it this way. It is certainly not a win for the American people,” Bishop said.

“It is a good week when the Department of Interior isn’t using its executive power to impose new regulations or mandates that hurt the energy industry and ultimately the American people,” Bishop concluded. “This week clearly isn’t one of them.”

For more from Bishop on the Obama-Salazar bar, go here.

Beltway ConfidentialenergyPoliticsUS

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