WASHINGTON, D.C.. – Congressman Raúl Grijalva (D-Ariz.) introduced a bill today to create the Greater Grand Canyon Heritage National Monument, which would protect 1.7 million acres of ponderosa pine forests, 12,000-year old archeological sites, and critical wildlife habitat from toxic uranium mining and other destructive activities.
The measure, which safeguards an area surrounding the Grand Canyon National Park and the Colorado River, has the backing of the Navajo Nation and the Hopi, Havasupai, and Hualapai tribes, along with a broad coalition of conservation groups, outdoor businesses, and tens of thousands of Arizonans.
“It took millions of years for the Colorado River to form the Grand Canyon,” said Bret Fanshaw, Environment America program coordinator based in Phoenix, Ariz. “But reckless logging and uranium mining could spoil the area for generations. We applaud Rep. Grijalva for standing up for one of the most amazing places on earth.”
While the legislation is not likely to pass this Congress, conservation advocates said its introduction would build more support for action from the Obama administration, which has the power to designate national monuments.
“President Obama has been a true leader in protecting some of America’s most precious landscapes as national monuments,” said Fanshaw. “We hope he’ll add the Grand Canyon region — one of the most stunning natural areas on the planet — to his conservation legacy.”