KINGMAN, Arizona — Top Republicans in Arizona held an emergency joint committee meeting Monday night in Kingman and voted formally against building a new national monument near the Grand Canyon.
The meeting will take place within 24 hours when President Joe Biden is expected to formally designate the monument on Tuesday.
The Biden administration has announced that the Burj Nwabujo Ita Kukuveni in the Grand Canyon National Monument, Ancestral Footsteps will include the Havasupai, Hopi, Hualapai, Paiute, Navajo, Yavapai Apache, Zuni, and Colorado River Indian tribes. announced that it is protecting thousands of sites that are sacred to the . Its name is derived from the Havasupai language of Vajnuwa Avjo, meaning “where the natives roam”, and the Hopi language of Itahahi Kukuveni, which means “in the footsteps of the ancestors”.
The meeting brought together Republicans from the state’s Senate and House Committees on Natural Resources, Energy and Water, the House Committee on Natural Resources, Energy and Water, and the House Committee on Land, Agriculture and Rural Affairs to propose characterized the monument as federal. Land grab.
Many officials believe that more than 80% of Arizona’s land is already under federal control, and the new national monument will further reduce the state’s already limited private lands, which in turn will adversely affect Mojave County. mentioned the fact that
There was also great concern about the national security implications of restricting our uranium supply, which is essential for our clean energy future.
“Mining is self-sufficient,” said Rep. Corey McGur.
“This has nothing to do with the environment, this has nothing to do with the cultural land or anything like that,” he said. “Those are the excuses they use to make sure we are benefiting from other countries.”
Elected officials also listened to over two hours of public commentary from elected officials, residents, ranchers and operators who were almost exclusively against the construction of the monument. tilted.
The proposal would create the state’s 19th national monument, encompassing 1.1 million acres, including an area of Kaibab National Forest on the south side of the canyon, two areas to the northwest along the Mojave-Coconino County line, and two adjacent areas to the northeast. things will be created. To Kaibab Forest.
Tribes and environmentalists have long promoted such protection, but many leaders in the northwest state said the measures were federal overreach, violated private property rights in the region, and limited livestock and other livestock. It claims it could harm the industry.
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More than half of the land included in the conservation proposal is in Coconino County, which has supported the effort, but Mojave County Superintendent Travis Lingenfelter said 445,000 acres of that land is on the North Rim and west of the Kaibab Plateau. Some say it’s in the same county, most of which is pastureland.
Several ranchers who attended the rally spoke out against the monument, including Mike Ganusio, president of the Arizona Cattlemen’s Association. Representatives of the Arizona Department of Agriculture also expressed dissenting positions.
The federal government said no private property will be used for the memorial. But during the meeting, rancher Chris Heaton presented a map showing that the proposed land monument would include land owned and worked on by his family since before Arizona was born.
“This is personal,” Heaton said. “They want our ranches, our livelihoods, our jobs, our homes.”
Heaton said he had not been contacted by anyone about the proposed monument in connection with his land.
“This is un-American,” he said. “We do not pursue the jobs or private property of the people of this country.”
Officials also disputed the fact that the U.S. Department of the Interior held a public comment session in Coconino County, but did not hold a similar session in Mojave County.
“The fact that everyone has been excluded from this process is deeply regrettable and disturbing,” said Rep. Leo Biasiucci.
“This is not how governments do it. Transparency is key, getting everyone at the table and doing what is best for the community,” he said.
Only a select few residents, many of whom have been dealing with the side effects of uranium mining for decades, have expressed support for the new monument, citing fears of uranium contamination of water supplies for nearby tribes. rice field.
“It’s basically about giving the tribe back what they deserve,” said resident Jack Erhardt, who spent 13 years as the Hualapai’s director of planning and economic development.
It is unclear whether state or local officials will take further action now that they have formally opposed the new national monument.
Republic reporter Brandon Loomis contributed to this article.
Here’s where to contact reporters: LLatch@gannett.com.
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