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Arizona Republicans Urge Against Grand Canyon Watershed National Monument


Twenty five members of Congress, including four Arizona Republicans, are urging President Obama not to designate nearly 2 million acres near the Grand Canyon as a national monument. As Arizona Public Radio’s Ryan Heinsius reports, the representatives say such a move would be an overreach by the president.

Congressmen Paul Gosar, Trent Franks, David Schweikert and Matt Salmon are among those who signed a letter to the president opposing the creation of the Grand Canyon Watershed National Monument.

They say current management of the proposed area on both the North and South Rims is sufficient, and an executive order would bypass the public. Also, the Arizona Game and Fish Department has expressed concern about the proposal saying it would block public access to the lands and stymie wildlife management.

But last month Arizona Democratic representatives Ann Kirkpatrick, Raul Grijalva and Ruben Gallego urged the president to create the national monument. They, along with several conservation groups, say the area provides crucial animal habitat and springs that are vital to the ecology of the Grand Canyon. They also say lands adjacent to the national park are under threat from grazing, off-road vehicle use and logging.

President Obama has given no indication as to where he stands on the proposal. But earlier this week he designated three new national monuments — marking 16 times during his presidency that he’s used his executive power to do so.

Ryan Heinsius was named interim news director and managing editor in January 2024. He joined KNAU's newsroom as an executive producer in 2013. He covers a broad range of stories from local, state and tribal politics to education, economy, energy and public lands issues, and frequently interviews internationally known and regional musicians. Ryan is an Edward R. Murrow Award winner and a Public Media Journalists Association Award winner, and a frequent contributor to NPR's Morning Edition, All Things Considered and national newscast.
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