Decision expected Friday on Ryan Airfield tower

The Federal Aviation Administration plans to announce on Friday which contract air-traffic control towers it will close to cope with possible federal sequestration budget cuts.

Tucson's Ryan Airfield is on a list of 173 contract towers proposed for closure. The FAA had said it would announce a final closure list Monday but has informed airport officials the decision has been delayed to consider the airports' appeals.

Airports were given a chance to appeal closure of their towers based on the national interest, and the FAA is reviewing those pleas.

Separately, nine U.S. senators have introduced bipartisan legislation to avoid the contract-tower cuts, in part by shifting $50 million in FAA research funds in an amendment to a federal stopgap funding bill.

Arizona Daily Star


Interior Dept. authority to ban mining is upheld

FLAGSTAFF - A judge has upheld the U.S. Interior Department's authority to ban new hard-rock mining claims on federal land.

Interior Secretary Ken Salazar announced a prohibition last year on more than a million acres near the Grand Canyon that are rich in high-grade uranium ore reserves.

The Federal Land Policy and Management Act gives the interior secretary the ability to withdraw 5,000 or more acres but not for longer than 20 years without congressional approval.

Mining-advocacy groups are suing the federal government over the ban and asked a judge to declare the act unconstitutional.

Wednesday's decision by U.S. District Judge David Campbell clears the way for other claims on environmental and economic impacts to be heard.

The Associated Press