If there are two things Arizona Congressman Paul Gosar hates, it’s the power of the federal government and groups with an environmental agenda, which probably helps explain why he’s made it his mission to stop the Grand Canyon National Heritage Monument.
In his latest attack on the proposed monument, Gosar plans to host a listening session Monday, April 11, called “Government Land Grab: Exposing the Truth” and has invited 20 speakers to discuss why they oppose the monument. (Gosar did not respond to questions about the event.)
“Under the guise of creating national monuments,” he writes, “radical special-interest groups are attempting to lock up 1.7 million acres of land in the Grand Canyon Watershed [and sabotage] important energy development, grazing rights, water rights, and other recreational activities.”
The event comes in response to a movement led by Congressman Raúl Grijalva to create the monument and permanently protect 1.7 million acres of land from uranium mining. Grijalva worked closely with local tribal leaders and environmentalists to propose a federal bill last year, and according to recent public opinion polls, 80 percent of Arizonans say they support the monument.
Even so, it’s unlikely the U.S. Senate would ever actually pass it, and as such, the latest strategy to get the monument status has been to pressure President Barack Obama to use his power under the Antiquities Act to declare monuments and parks.
Gosar considers the Antiquities Act a prime example of federal overreach – he accuses Obama often of abusing this power — and he claims the monument will kill hundreds of jobs, destroy the local economy, and limit access sportsmen or other recreational users have to the area.
Grijalva calls this latter claim untrue, pointing out that there is specific language in his bill to protect many local industries and interest groups.
Gosar and Grijalva have had it out about this proposal a few times, and in November, Gosar publicly accused Grijalva of using “tribes as political pawns to implement the misguided agenda of extremist environmental groups.” He also said the “bill isn’t even worth the paper it was printed on.”
Monday’s anti-monument presentation is scheduled at 8 a.m. in Kingman, but according to Gosar’s office, can be live-streamed on the Congressman’s Facebook page.
For more information about speakers or the event, check out Gosar’s website.