Local News

News Release: Kirkpatrick cosponsors Greater Grand Canyon Heritage National Monument Act

September 29, 2016

 FLAGSTAFF – U.S. Rep. Ann Kirkpatrick, D-Ariz., is pleased to announce she is cosponsoring H.R. 3882, the Greater Grand Canyon Heritage National Monument Act, which establishes a national monument that permanently protects more than a million acres of public land surrounding Grand Canyon National Park and permanently bans new uranium mines there.

In 2015, Kirkpatrick announced her support for the concept of a monument and launched an ongoing dialogue with stakeholders and constituents across Arizona. Since then, she has heard overwhelmingly strong support for a monument designation and has also pledged to address certain concerns by working to ensure the designation would protect hunting, fishing and other recreational activities important to Arizona’s sportsmen and women.

“I’m backing this legislation because it will protect the greater Grand Canyon region from existing and future threats,” Kirkpatrick said. “I’ve always stood with Arizona’s Native American tribes in opposing uranium mining at the Grand Canyon, so it was important to me that this legislation permanently bans new uranium mining claims there. A monument designation would protect ancient forests, migratory wildlife corridors, archeological sites, and sacred tribal sites such as Red Butte on the Coconino Plateau. And it would support clean drinking water, cultural heritage and outdoor recreation. After listening to folks all across Arizona, I am more convinced than ever that this monument designation will benefit us all.”

H.R. 3882 also:

• protects commercial and recreational hunting;

• preserves grazing and water rights;

• promotes a more collaborative regional approach between tribal nations and federal land managers;

• conserves the Grand Canyon watershed.

In a 2015 letter to the president, Kirkpatrick joined fellow Arizona Reps. Raúl M. Grijalva and Ruben Gallego to discuss the importance of establishing a national monument. The heart of the region is the Kaibab Plateau, they wrote, “where the Colorado River carves its way through the Grand Canyon and provides water for millions of people in Arizona, Nevada, and California, as well as further downstream in Mexico. The Kaibab Plateau is home to sensitive plants and animals found nowhere else in the world.”

Kirkpatrick has also called for efforts to better protect and preserve Grand Canyon National Park by cutting the maintenance backlog. The Grand Canyon is not only an environmental treasure but a major economic driver that supports roughly 6,000 jobs and attracts about $415 million in visitor spending each year.

Arizona reactions to Kirkpatrick’s cosponsorship:

Rep. Raúl M. Grijalva, D-Ariz., lead sponsor of H.R. 3882: “Since she first came to Congress, Rep. Kirkpatrick ‎has been a good friend of the Grand Canyon. Her support for the monument brings us closer than ever to fulfilling the hopes of the people of Arizona – and the hopes of Americans everywhere – who want this beautiful land protected. I thank her for uniting Arizona's Democratic delegation and giving us another push forward as we near the finish line.”

Jonathan Nez, Navajo Nation Vice President: “I appreciate Ann Kirkpatrick's support for the Grand Canyon National Monument legislation. Rep. Grijalva's bill permanently protects the Grand Canyon from future uranium mining. The Navajo people are all too familiar with the legacy of uranium mining: cancer, terminal illnesses and a never-ending fight for adequate compensation for uranium mining and living downwind from nuclear testing sites. We appreciate Ann Kirkpatrick's unwavering support for the Navajo Nation on the uranium issue.”

Ethan Aumack, Conservation Director of Grand Canyon Trust: “Rep. Kirkpatrick has listened carefully and respectfully to her constituents on this issue, and they have spoken clearly. The region's tribes, the people of Arizona, and the people of our nation strongly support a monument protecting the Grand Canyon. It's time for President Obama to build on the legacy established by Teddy Roosevelt and designate the Greater Grand Canyon Heritage National Monument.”

Art Babbott, Coconino County Supervisor: “The greater Grand Canyon region is like nowhere else in the world, and I applaud Congresswoman Kirkpatrick for supporting this important effort to protect our forests, water, wildlife and archeological sites. Northern Arizona and the entire state will benefit from a monument designation.”