AZ Senators Oppose Grand Canyon Watershed National Monument Proposal
Both of Arizona’s U.S. senators sent a letter yesterday to President Obama opposing the possible designation of the Grand Canyon Watershed National Monument. As Arizona Public Radio’s Ryan Heinsius reports, they say such an action would represent a large federal overreach.
According to Republicans John McCain and Jeff Flake, the monument would restrict land managers and private property owners from forest thinning, which could increase fire danger. They say it would also ban hunting making wildlife management difficult.
Four other Arizona Republican congressmen signed a similar letter last month. They say the proposed monument, created by executive order, would bypass state leadership and the public.
Some environmental groups and state Democrats, including District 1 Representative Ann Kirkpatrick, have recently come out in favor of creating the monument. The say the nearly 2 million acres adjacent to the Grand Canyon is crucial in protecting the national park’s ecology and watershed, and that the area is under threat from logging, off-road vehicle use and grazing.
There are currently more than 100 U.S. national monuments. President Obama has given 16 areas the designation during his time in office, including three last month.