Environmental advocates join tribal leaders to call for new Arizona monument

Media Contacts
Ellen Montgomery

Director, Public Lands Campaign, Environment America Research & Policy Center

FLAGSTAFF, Ariz. – The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) and the U.S. Forest Service held a public meeting Tuesday to hear feedback about a proposal from the Grand Canyon Tribal Coalition calling for the protection of the Grand Canyon landscape as the “Baaj Nwaavjo I’tah Kukveni Grand Canyon National Monument.” Tribal leaders, environmental advocates and members of the public spoke out in support of the proposed monument.

“We’re not surprised to see an outpouring of support for more protection for the Grand Canyon area,” said Ellen Montgomery, public lands campaign director for Environment Arizona Research & Policy Center and its national partner Environment America Research & Policy Center. “Arizonans know how special this place is and thanks to the Grand Canyon Tribal Coalition, we now have a real chance of protecting the entire landscape for future generations.”

The proposed monument would protect approximately 1 million acres of public land that tribes say are important for historical, cultural and spiritual reasons. There are more than 600 uranium mining claims surrounding the park, some as close as 10 miles from the park boundary. Uranium is used as fuel for nuclear power plants and nuclear reactors. There is a 20-year moratorium on those leases. That protection is set to end in 2032. 

“The Baaj Nwaajo Itah Kukveni National Monument will protect cultural, historical and spiritual sites; the habitat for hundreds of animal species and the water source for millions of people,” said Montgomery in prepared comments.