In a controversial move, President Joe Biden issued an order this week declaring all of the greater Grand Canyon area as a national monument.
According to the Associated Press, the designation puts 1,562 square miles adjacent to Grand Canyon National Park off limits from development.
"Preserving these lands is good, not only for Arizona but for the planet. It’s good for the economy. It’s good for the soul of the nation," the president was quoted as saying on Tuesday.
"There’s no national treasure, none, that is grander than the Grand Canyon," he continued. The Associated Press reported that Biden mistakenly referred to the Grand Canyon as one of the "nine wonders of the world" before correcting himself.
President Biden used a visit to Arizona to formally announce a national monument designation for the greater Grand Canyon, making Native American tribes' and environmentalists' vision to preserve the land a reality.
This marks the president's fifth monument designation. pic.twitter.com/6WDqkziaS2
— The Associated Press (@AP) August 9, 2023
Carletta Tilousi is a spokesperson for the Grand Canyon Tribal Coalition who previously served as a Havasupai councilwoman, and she spoke up as well.
"I’ve had a lot of mixed emotions leading up to this day. One, missing my elders that started this campaign. They’ve all passed away," Tilousi said, referring to a decades-long by Native American activists to have the area declared a national monument.
"They weren’t here to witness this special moment physically but I know they’re here in the clouds, in the wind," Tilousi went on to add.
However, Mohave County Supervisor Buster Johnson lamented the lost opportunity to mine uranium, telling the Associated Press, "We need uranium for the security of our country. We’re out of the game."
This is not the first time that the president has used his authority under the Antiquities Act of 1906 to declare a national monument, as he also did so in March.
The Daily Wire reported that the newly declared Avi Kwa Ame National Monument covers over half a million acres in Nevada.
Its creation came despite opposition from Nevada Republican Gov. oe Lombardo, who provided a statement to Fox News.
"Since I took office, the Biden White House has not consulted with my administration about any of the details of the proposed Avi Kwa Ame national monument which, given the size of the proposal, seems badly out of step," Lombardo complained.
"Upon learning that the President was considering unilateral action, I reached out to the White House to raise several concerns, citing the potential for terminal disruption of rare earth mineral mining projects and long-planned, bipartisan economic development efforts. While I’m still waiting for a response, I’m not surprised," he added.