Rep. Gosar Leads Effort to Discourage 1.7 Million Acre Land Grab in Arizona
WASHINGTON, D.C. - Today, U.S. Congressman Paul A. Gosar, D.D.S. (AZ-04) released the following statement after sending a letter with 24 cosigners asking President Obama not to unilaterally designate 1.7 million acres in the Grand Canyon Watershed as a National Monument:
Today, U.S. Congressman Paul A. Gosar, D.D.S. (AZ-04) released the following statement after sending a letter with 24 cosigners asking President Obama not to unilaterally designate 1.7 million acres in the Grand Canyon Watershed as a National Monument:
“The president has circumvented Congress at an unprecedented rate. This week alone, he will designate three new national monuments in Colorado, Hawaii and Illinois. My fear is that at the prodding of three liberal Democrats and a couple extremist environmental groups, Arizona may be next on the list. Locking up 1.7 million acres in the Grand Canyon Watershed would be devastating for local economies. Such action would also erode the extensive cooperation and success that federal and state agencies in Arizona have achieved to date. Worse yet, this land grab targets nearly 7,000 acres currently in private ownership and thousands of acres of State Trust Land that rural communities are counting on to provide important revenues for education and other critical services.
“A need to weigh the costs and benefits of acreage within Arizona’s border is too great a responsibility to entrust to one pen stroke from the Executive Branch. This responsibility alone rests within Congress and the people. Clearly, a unilateral designation of nearly 2 million acres would be contradictory to the intent of Congress as well as Section 2 of the Antiquities Act, which limits designations to the ‘smallest area compatible with proper care and management of the objects to be protected.’
Congressman Gosar introduced the Arizona Land Sovereignty Act during the 113th Congress which sought to prohibit designations in Arizona without express consent of Congress. Read more HERE.
The federal government’s ability to set aside land for monuments and national parks comes from the Antiquities Act of 1906, which was originally intended to protect prehistoric Indian ruins and artifacts on federal lands in the West. More than one hundred years later, the original purpose of this bill has been significantly abused; more than 130 million acres and more than 100 national monuments now exist. President Obama has used the Antiquities Act 16 times now, limiting public input and bypassing Congress each time.