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Biden to announce historic Grand Canyon monument designation during Arizona visit

Tusayan, Arizona – President Joe Biden used Tuesday’s visit to Arizona to formally announce the designation of the Grand Canyon as a National Monument, bringing to life the decades-old vision of Native American tribes and environmentalists to protect the land. I plan to make it a thing.

Biden expected to announce plans for new national monument The day before, National Climate Advisor Ali Zaidi approved the protection of about 1,562 square miles (4,046 square kilometers) just outside Grand Canyon National Park. This is the fifth time the president has designated the monument.

Tribes in Arizona are pressuring Biden to use his powers under the Antiquities Act of 1906 to build a new national monument called Bahji Nwabjo Ita Kukuveni. ‘Baaj Nwaavjo’ means ‘where the tribe roams’ to the Havasupai, and ‘I’tah Kukveni’ means ‘our footsteps’ to the Hopi.

For decades, tribes and environmentalists have tried to protect the lands north and south of Grand Canyon National Park, while Republican lawmakers and the mining industry tout their economic interests and criticize mining as a matter of national security. We are promoting development.

Biden arrived at the Grand Canyon National Park airport Monday night and was greeted by Democratic Rep. Raul Grijalva and Rep. Ruben Gallego. Biden hugged them as they stepped out of Air Force One, and the three chatted for several minutes. Grijalva, a member of the House Natural Resources Committee, has repeatedly introduced legislation to build the monument.

He will speak in the area between the developing and not-yet-opened Pinyon Plain mine and Red Butte, a site of cultural significance to the Havasupai and Hopi peoples.

Representatives from various northern Arizona tribes have been invited to attend the president’s speech. Among them are Yavapai Apache President Tanya Lewis, Colorado River Indian Tribe President Amelia Flores, Navajo President Buu Nigren, and Havasupai Tribal Representative Deanna Sue White Dove Uquala. included. Ms. Ukuala is part of a group of tribal dancers performing a celebration performance.

“Uranium really doesn’t want to come out of the ground because it affects everything around it: trees, land, animals, people,” said Uquala. “I can’t stop.”

In response to concerns about the risk of water pollution, the Interior Ministry enacted a law in 2012 to suspend applications for new mining rights claims around national parks for 20 years.

2021 U.S. Geological Survey In a large area of ​​northern Arizona known for its high-grade uranium ore, most springs and wells were found to meet federal drinking water standards, despite decades of uranium mining.

In 2017, Democrats President Barack Obama withdraws all-encompassing monument specify. The idea faced hostile reaction from Arizona’s Republican governor and two senators. Then-Governor Doug Ducey said Arizona already had enough national monuments and threatened legal action.

Opponents of the monument say it won’t help combat prolonged drought, hinder forest thinning, and may prevent hunters from controlling wildlife populations. Ranchers in Utah, near the Arizona border, claim the monument designation strips them of their private property.

Since then, the landscape of political delegations in Arizona has changed significantly. Governor Katie Hobbs, Democratic Senator Mark Kelly, and independent Senator Kirsten Sinema are all in attendance. Hobbes, a Democrat, openly urged Biden to run for the nomination. Hobbes said in a letter to Biden in May that he had heard support for the memorial from people across political lines, including sports and outdoor groups.

The mining companies and the sectors that benefit from their business remain strongly opposed. Mojave County Superintendent Buster Johnson said the memorial proposal felt entirely politically motivated and that another public hearing should have been held on the issue. He doesn’t develop uranium and doesn’t understand the implications of being less dependent on Russia.

“We need uranium for our national security,” Johnson said. “We are out of the game.”

No uranium mines are operational in Arizona, but the Pinyon Plain mine, just south of Grand Canyon National Park, has been under development for years. The federal government said more than a dozen mines in the area that were withdrawn from new mining claims could still open even with monumental designation because their claims were established before 2012. said there is.

After Arizona, Biden is scheduled to travel to Albuquerque on Wednesday to talk about how to do it there. fighting climate change created new jobs. He will then visit Salt Lake City on Thursday to mark his first anniversary in office. PACT method, offers new benefits to veterans exposed to toxic substances. Re-election fundraising activities will also be held in each city.

Copyright 2023 Associated Press. all rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed without permission.

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