Arizona GOP Members Challenge Biden’s Monument Designation

WH Monument Move Sparks OUTRAGE - GOP Reps Protest!

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President Biden encountered legal action from Arizona legislators Warren Petersen and Ben Toma just days following the establishment of a new monument in close proximity to the Grand Canyon. Their contention revolves around the assertion that the monument, established in the previous summer, exceeds his jurisdiction as per the 1906 Antiquities Act.

The legal action alleges that Biden’s designation of the new monument, named Baaj Nwaavjo I’tah Kukveni, exceeds the parameters outlined in the Act because it extends beyond the preservation of historically or scientifically significant objects. Additionally, they contend that the designation fails to delineate the protected area as the smallest possible size necessary for the proper preservation and management of the objects in question.

The 4,046-square-kilometer monument is situated both to the north and south of the Grand Canyon National Park. While the designation realizes a longstanding aspiration of Native American tribes and environmental advocates, it encounters resistance from Republican legislators and the uranium mining sector within the region.

Petersen condemned Biden’s decision as “extremely deceptive,” asserting that it lacks genuine concern for safeguarding actual artifacts. He argued that the designation aims to halt mining, ranching, and other local activities on federal lands crucial for energy autonomy, food production, and economic vitality.

The White House and the U.S. Department of the Interior refrained from offering a response to the lawsuit. Nonetheless, Mohave County and the communities of Colorado City and Fredonia in northern Arizona have also entered the legal fray. Their apprehensions revolve around potential revenue loss and declining land values due to the restrictions on land use imposed by the monument designation.

Significantly, in 2012, the Interior Department imposed a 20-year ban on new mining claims in the vicinity of the national park due to worries about water pollution. Presently, there are no active uranium mines in Arizona, though the Pinyon Plain Mine, situated just south of the Grand Canyon National Park, has been in the developmental phase for an extended period.

Curiously, shortly after Biden’s designation, a federal judge in Utah ruled in support of President Biden, dismissing a lawsuit contesting his reinstatement of two national monuments previously reduced in size by former President Donald Trump. The judge affirmed Biden’s power to reinstate Bears Ears and Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monuments, both of which hold sacred significance for numerous Native American communities.

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