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Gov. Brewer says US policies holding back Arizona

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PHOENIX (AP) -- Washington's decision to bar new uranium mining near the Grand Canyon and other federal policies on energy and resource issues are barriers holding back Arizona and its residents from prosperity, Gov. Jan Brewer told a congressional hearing Friday.

The Republican governor said the January decision by the Obama administration to block new uranium mining near the national park deprives a rural area of needed jobs and ignores that there are safeguards that would protect the environment. She also criticized federal policies and regulatory actions involving forest management and power plant emissions.

Unlike in decades past when the federal government and the state partnered on dam and aqueduct projects, use of natural resources is at risk due to red tape and overregulation from Washington, Brewer said.

"We all love Arizona. We all treasure the Grand Canyon. We all support clean water and clear skies," Brewer said. "But Westerners need a federal government that will work with us to achieve our shared goals of a strong economy and a sound environment."

Interior Secretary Ken Salazar announced the 20-year prohibition that covers more than 1 million acres rich in high-grade uranium ore reserves in the region of the Grand Canyon. Uranium is used in nuclear power plants.

Salazar said he took the action to protect the Grand Canyon, which he called a natural treasure. He cited its draw as a tourist attraction, its sacred status to Native Americans and the reliance of millions of people in cities such as Phoenix and Los Angeles on drinking water from the Colorado River, which carved the canyon and still flows through it.

Brewer was among political friends and allies Friday as she testified before a hearing of Republican U.S. House members at the Arizona Capitol.

Congressional participants included Rep. Steve Pearce of New Mexico - the leader of a House caucus of Republicans from the West - and Arizona lawmakers Trent Franks, Paul Gosar, David Schweikert and Ben Quayle.

"The war on jobs must stop. The war on the West must stop - and must stop now," Pearce said as he told of protests in his state against federal policies on petroleum drilling, forest management and roadless areas.

Brewer's remarks to the congressional hearing were the second time in as many weeks that she blasted the federal government.

On March 6, Brewer told law enforcement officers and others attending a border-security expo in Phoenix that Washington has failed Americans by failing to secure the U.S.-Mexico border.

From http://hosted.ap.org/dynamic/stories/A/AZ_CONGRESS_ARIZONA_AZOL-?SITE=AZYUM&SECTION=STATE&TEMPLATE=DEFAULT&CTIME=2012-03-16-19-48-14

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