**President Biden Announces National Monument Designation for Greater Grand Canyon**
President Joe Biden will use his visit to Arizona on Tuesday to formally announce a national monument designation for the greater Grand Canyon, fulfilling the long-standing vision of Native American tribes and environmentalists to preserve the land. The designation is expected to preserve about 1,562 square miles (4,046 square kilometers) just outside Grand Canyon National Park, marking Biden’s fifth monument designation.
**Native American Tribes and Environmentalists Seek Preservation**
Tribes in Arizona have been advocating for President Biden to utilize his authority under the Antiquities Act of 1906 to create a new national monument known as Baaj Nwaavjo I’tah Kukveni. This designation holds great cultural significance for the Havasupai and Hopi tribes, representing their ancestral lands. For decades, tribes and environmentalists have worked tirelessly to protect the land surrounding the Grand Canyon National Park from mining and other harmful activities.
**Republican Opposition and Economic Concerns**
On the other hand, Republican lawmakers and the mining industry argue that mining in the area would bring economic benefits and contribute to national security. The mining industry believes that extracting high-grade uranium from the region would decrease the country’s reliance on foreign sources. However, tribes and environmentalists stress the potential environmental damage and the impact on natural resources, including the water supply.
**President Biden’s Visit and Monument Designation**
President Biden arrived at Grand Canyon National Park Airport on Monday evening, where he was welcomed by Democratic congressmen Raúl Grijalva and Ruben Gallego. Biden will make his announcement in an area located between the Pinyon Plain Mine and Red Butte, both of which hold cultural significance to the Havasupai and Hopi tribes. The president’s remarks will be attended by representatives from various northern Arizona tribes.
**Supporters and Opposition to the Monument Designation**
Support for the national monument designation has grown among Arizona’s political delegation. Governor Katie Hobbs, Democratic Senator Mark Kelly, and Senator Kyrsten Sinema, an independent, all endorse the monument designation. In a letter to President Biden, Governor Hobbs emphasized the widespread support for the designation from sporting and outdoor groups, as well as individuals across the political spectrum. However, mining companies and their supporters remain strongly opposed, arguing that the monument designation disregards the economic benefits of mining and national security concerns.
**Uranium Mining and Contamination Concerns**
Although no uranium mines are currently operating in Arizona, the development of the Pinyon Plain Mine near Grand Canyon National Park has been ongoing. The Interior Department enacted a 20-year moratorium in 2012 to prevent the filing of new mining claims to protect against water contamination. Concerns over uranium mining’s environmental impact and potential harm to water resources have fueled the push for a monument designation.
**President Biden’s Upcoming Events**
After announcing the national monument designation in Arizona, President Biden will travel to Albuquerque, where he will discuss how the fight against climate change has generated new job opportunities. He will then visit Salt Lake City to commemorate the first anniversary of the PACT Act, which provides benefits to veterans exposed to toxic substances. Alongside these events, the president will also hold reelection fundraisers in each city.
In conclusion, President Biden’s announcement of a national monument designation for the greater Grand Canyon reflects the fulfillment of Native American tribes’ and environmentalists’ longstanding vision to preserve the land. While supporters celebrate the protection of cultural and natural resources, opponents continue to raise concerns about the economic impact and national security implications. The monument designation serves as a significant step towards maintaining the integrity of this iconic American landscape.