Federal judge denies rehearing on mining ban

Federal law permits Interior to remove 5,000 or more acres of public land from hard-rock mining claims for up to 20 years without congressional approval.

The move was a flashpoint for environmental groups in the Arizona Senate race last year.

Green groups blasted eventual winner Sen. Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.) for attempting to reinstate mining claims on the land in a rider to the fiscal 2012 Interior appropriations bill.