An Obama administration official says Interior Secretary Ken Salazar will announce Monday that his department is temporarily barring the filing of new uranium mining claims on about 1 million acres near the Grand Canyon.
The official says the land is being "segregated" for two years so that the department can study whether it should be permanently withdrawn from mining activity. The source spoke anonymously because he wasn't authorized to speak publicly on the matter.
The official says the acreage being set aside doesn't include thousands of uranium mining claims already filed near the canyon.
He says it's not possible to prevent mining on existing claims under the General Mining Act of 1872 unless Congress was to appropriate money for the department to buy up the claims.