Congressman Fight against Preservation of Canyon-Adjacent Land

Few places in the world offer the same awe-inspiring beauty as scope as the Grand Canyon National Park, so it’s no surprise that many American leaders and activists have, in the past, fought for the preservation of this great landmark. The Grand Canyon may have been created by the Colorado River, but it’s thanks to those fighting to protect it that it’s still one of America’s defining features.

That being said, it’s hard for officials to determine just what should and shouldn’t be protected. Valuable resources can be found in and around the Grand Canyon National Park, and while preserving the entirety of the American wilderness is an admirable goal, we still need the resources we use to power and build our country. Congressmen are less willing to try to strike down Grand Canyon tourist attractions or mine the canyon itself, of course, but twenty-five members of Congress are speaking out, urging President Barack Obama to refrain from classifying nearly 2 million acres of land near the Grand Canyon as a national monument.

This isn’t the first time President Obama has used his executive power to designate a national monument. He’s already designated 16 different national monument sites since his presidency began, and during the week of February 16th to 20th, he designated a total of three. Whether the president is wholly opposed to the proposal Congress has made to cease the preservation of these nearly 2 million acres has not been established. At this point, anything could happen.

A few of the national monuments created by Obama include…

  • Chimney Rock National Monument
  • Cesar Chavez National Monument
  • Fort Monroe
  • Harriet Tubman Underground Railroad National Monument
  • Organ Mountains
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Urging the president against creating a new national monument are twenty-five members of Congress, four of whom are Republicans representing the state of Arizona. These representatives state that the creation of this national monument would exceed what the president should rightfully use his executive power for. Signing and submitting a letter expressing opposition were Congressmen Paul Gosar, Trent Franks, David Schweikert and Matt Salmon. Their letter outlines the ways in which additional management of the area might be a redundancy, including a section that speaks on behalf of the Arizona residents who don’t have a say in the matter. Even Arizona Game and Fish are expressing concerns that too much preservation will make it more difficult to control and manage wildlife.

While the opposition is presenting compelling information, there are those who support the president’s decision to create yet another new national monument, including three Arizona representatives. Ann Kirkpatrick, Raul Grijalva and Ruben Gallego, alongside a fleet of conservationist entities, say that the 2 million acre area is crucial to the preservation of the wildlife and the Grand Canyon’s fragile ecosystem. Grand Canyon camping sites might appreciate the extra land as well.

Where do you stand on the issues? Do you think that Obama is overreaching by creating yet another national monument? Call you congressman and chime into the comments section below with your input!