The Arizona Department of Environmental Quality approved an aquifer protection permit for a uranium mine near Grand Canyon National Park. The mine, owned by Energy Fuels Resources, has a history of flooding as it depletes shallow groundwater aquifers that express at South Rim springs. It also threatens to permanently contaminate deep aquifers that feed Havasu Creek and other springs. The approval comes despite calls by the Havasupai Tribe and conservation groups to close the Pinyon Plain Mine given its risks to water and Tribal cultural resources. Grand Canyon Trust energy director Amber Reimondo said “Uranium mines do not belong among the complex groundwater systems that surround the Grand Canyon and Pinyon Plain Mine is a perfect example of why. Uranium contamination in a system like this is forever and while the mining company can walk away, the Havasupai Tribe can’t. This is, and always has been, their home. Taylor McKinnon of the Center for Biological Diversity said “Neither regulators nor the uranium industry can ensure that mining won’t permanently damage the Grand Canyon’s precious aquifers and springs. This permit strenuously ignores science showing the potential for deep aquifer pollution, and in a region still plagued by seven decades of uranium industry pollution, risking more, as this permit does, is dangerous.”In late 2016 mineshaft drilling pierced shallow aquifers, causing water pumped from the mine to spike from 151,000 gallons in 2015 to 1.4 million gallons in 2016. In the years since then, inflow has ranged from 8.8 million gallons in 2017 to 10.76 million gallons in 2019; most recently, the mine took on 8,261,406 gallons of groundwater in 2021. Since 2016, dissolved uranium in that water has consistently exceeded federal toxicity limits by more than 300% and arsenic levels by more than 2,800%.Groups have repeatedly urged the department to limit Energy Fuels’ Aquifer Protection Permit to mine closure, post-closure maintenance and full bonding. Thousands of Arizonans have also urged the department to close the mine. The Havasupai Tribe and the public have 30 days to decide whether to appeal the issuance of permit.