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Mohave County Supervisors Call for National Monuments and Uranium Moratorium to be Revoked

Bob Wick/BLM California

The Mohave County Board of Supervisors has drafted letters to the U.S. Interior Secretary urging the abolishment of national monument designations in Arizona, and end a uranium mining moratorium near the Grand Canyon. KNAU’s Ryan Heinsius reports.

The supervisors says recent national monument designations in Arizona are unconstitutional. They say the state and counties never approved them and haven’t been compensated by the federal government for land use.

In addition, the board writes that the Grand Canyon-Parashant and Vermillion Cliffs monuments, along with others, limit coal, natural gas and oil production, and have hurt the local economy.

"We here in the West depend on our natural resources for a great deal of our economic activity," says Mohave Board Chairman Gary Watson. "And when the federal government does a monument or a moratorium that’s pretty much a federal taking, and that sets very unevenly with me."

The board also says a 20-year Obama-era ban on new uranium mines near the Grand Canyon has caused billions in lost revenue. The ban encompasses a million acres, some of which is in Mohave County. The supervisors want the Interior secretary to immediately begin the process of withdrawing the moratorium, which expires in 2032. 

Ryan joined KNAU's newsroom 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 frequent contributor to NPR.
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