We received great comments and feedback from countless Arizonans about my public listening session in Kingman this past Monday titled, “Government Land Grabs: Exposing the Truth."
During the event, I heard from concerned citizens for more than three hours on the need to reform the Antiquities Act and the negative impacts that would result should President Obama appease special-interest groups by unilaterally locking up nearly two million acres in northern Arizona through the creation of a new national monument under presidential decree.
While originally created in good faith, the Antiquities Act of 1906 has been repeatedly abused in order to appease extremist environmentalists and bypass the legislative process. President Obama has exceeded the intent of this law more than any other American president, designating or expanding 23 national monuments and locking up more than 265 million acres of land and water.
National monument designations under the Antiquities Act typically have significant consequences that negatively affect grazing rights, water rights, wildfire prevention and other land management activities. These declarations also result in some of the most restrictive land-use regulations possible, greatly impacting hunting, fishing, OHV use, and other recreational activities.
At Monday’s listening session, we heard resounding testimony from sportsmen, farmers, ranchers, elected officials and numerous other stakeholders who made clear that Arizonans adamantly oppose another massive land grab from the Obama Administration. These witnesses confirmed that circumventing Congress in order to create this proposed monument would kill jobs, prevent mining, retire grazing permits, close roads to OHV users, reduce access for sportsmen, steal water rights and harm 4FRI.
I have introduced legislation, passed an amendment through the House, and submitted an appropriations rider in order to stop this proposal and rein in abuse of the Antiquities Act. I will continue to do everything in my power to prevent executive overreach under this outdated law and to keep our lands open to our citizens. But I can’t do it alone and need your help. We must stand shoulder to shoulder and continue to show significant opposition in order to block this massive land grab.
Read more from local media coverage of the Listening Session:
Lake Havasu City's Today's News-Herald
GRAND CANYON MONUMENT: PRESERVING ARIZONA WILDERNESS OR A NAKED LAND GRAB?
Kingman Daily Miner
OBAMA'S PROPOSAL RAPPED IN MEETING HOSTED BY GOSAR
Mohave Valley Daily News
HEARING DISCUSSES PROPOSED NATIONAL MONUMENT PLAN
Witnesses who submitted testimony for the Listening Session stated:
Arizona Governor Doug Ducey submitted testimonystating, "Imposition of a preservation management objective overlay on 1.7 million acres of land in Arizona thwarts Arizona's land management objectives and values, and it does so by bypassing a public process that would most certainly result in a much more thoughtful result. The Grand Canyon Watershed National Monument is not narrow, targeted, warranted, or being considered through an open cooperative public process."
Arizona State Land Department Commissioner Lisa Atkins submitted testimony stating, "Of the 1.7 million acres included in proposals for the Grand Canyon Watershed National Monument (GCWNM), 64,000 acres belong solely to the Common Schools beneficiary: K-12 education...Inclusion of the checker-boarded State Trust land within the GCWNM essentially traps the State Trust land, significantly limiting economic opportunity and, in some cases, eliminating their value to the Trust altogether. Ultimately, if the GCWNM is created, these trapped State Trust lands would be adversely relinquished to federal management objectives without consultation or coordination with the State on behalf of the Trust beneficiaries, as currently exists within other federal land use designations. These designations impose potential limitations to not only the types of activities and businesses that can be conducted on these trapped State Trust lands, but also increases federal regulatory burdens that impose greater costs to lessees. Potential land devaluation can also result from the increased costs to prospective buyers and lessees as a result of the regulatory burdens imposed by federal regulations."
Arizona Game and Fish Commission Chairman Kurt R. Davis testified, “Arizona has had enough public land that have seen declining access; declining ability to manage wildlife and declining ability to maintain the heritage and history of those who came to Arizona to build families and lives in rural Arizona. Arizonans have witnessed massive and cataclysmic wild fires across our federal lands over the past two decades because of a lack of proactive habitat management. This unfortunately, will be the destiny of the North Kiabab if a monument is established. Simply and sadly stated, the President is being asked to use the stroke of a pen, but it will also certainly serve as the strike of the match.”
Arizona Chamber of Commerce President Glenn Hamer submitted testimony stating, “Monument designations have a significant economic impact because they entail restrictions, limitations, or out-right bans on land use, including commercial development, grazing, timber production, mining, and the use of off-road vehicles. By preventing economic activity that generates needed income and tax revenue, monument designation will have far-reaching consequences for infrastructure, job creation, and economic growth in the towns surrounding the proposed monument areas as well as across the state.”
Congressman Trent Franks (R-AZ) submitted testimony stating, “The ability of the Arizonans to enjoy the responsible use of their public land must be respected, as must the primacy of state agencies to manage the land under their authority. A unilateral designation of the Grand Canyon Watershed as a National Monument would erode the extensive work that federal and state land agencies have done to successfully manage this land.”
Jim Parks, President of the Coconino County Farm Bureau and Cattle Growers Association (on behalf of the Arizona Farm Bureau), testified, “Within the bounds of the proposed Grand Canyon Watershed National Monument are over 64,000 acres of Arizona State Trust lands and almost 28,000 acres of private land. This alone violates federal and state laws, as it amounts to a ‘taking’ of these state and private lands.”
Eric Duthie, Town Manager of the Town of Tusayan, testified, “Tusayan would become the only municipality entirely swallowed up in this monument…Tusayan strongly opposes the establishment of the Grand Canyon Watershed Monument, whether through Congressional decree or Executive Order. Tusayan believes such action would constitute federal overreach in order to appease special-interest groups who do not live among, nor represent the views of the many life-long residents who cherish and manage the Grand Canyon.”
Kelly Shaw-Norton, President of the Arizona Mining Association, testified, “The Antiquities Act was intended as a tool to set aside ‘the smallest area compatible with the proper care and management of the objects to be protected.’ It was not meant to be used for expansive amounts of land without public input and Congressional approval.”
Bob Lynch, an Arizona water law expert and attorney, submitted testimony stating, "The first thing that came to mind when I looked at the map was how will the Four Forest Restoration Initiative Program, the Federal/Arizona partnership for forest thinning for fire protection and watershed management, continue in a national monument?...The designation will only complicate the ability of the United States and the State of Arizona to work together to improve this forest for watershed purposes and to protect it from catastrophic wildfire...Designation of the monument will tie up not only any future surface water use but any future groundwater use as well."
My opening statement and PowerPoint from Monday's Public Listening Session can be viewed by clicking on the links below:
Opening Statement of U.S. Congressman Paul Gosar, 4th Congressional District
PowerPoint Presentation that accompanied Congressman Gosar's Opening statement
To view the testimonies submitted by witnesses at this public listening session, click on their name below:
Doug Ducey, State of Arizona, Governor (testimony for the record)
Lisa A. Atkins, Arizona State Land Department, Commissioner (testimony for the record)
Kurt Davis, Chairman, Arizona Game and Fish Commission
Glenn Hamer, President and CEO, Arizona Chamber of Commerce and Industry (testimony for the record)
Bob Lynch, Robert S. Lynch and Associates, Arizona Attorney (testimony for the record)
Tyler Carlson, CEO, Mohave Electric Cooperative
Pamela Hill, Executive Director, American Clean Energy Resources Trust
Jim Parks, President, Coconino County Farm Bureau and Cattle Growers' Association on behalf of the Arizona Farm Bureau
Kelly Shaw-Norton, President, Arizona Mining Association
Emmett Sturgill, Chairman of the Federal Lands/Bureau of Land Management Committee for the Arizona Cattle Growers' Association
Emmett Sturgill PowerPoint Presentation
Gary Watson, Mohave County Supervisor, District 1
Jim Unmacht, President, Arizona Sportsmen for Wildlife Conservation
Harold Roberts, Executive Vice President of Conventional Operations, Energy Fuels Resources Inc.
Shari Farrington, on behalf of U.S. Congressman Trent Franks, 8th Congressional District
Eric Duthie, Town Manager, Town of Tusayan
Joe Bardswich, Professional Engineer, L. J. Bardswich Mine Consultant Inc.
Frank McNelly, Williams City Council Member
Craig Wiita, President, Wiita Mining and Exploration
Buster Johnson, Mohave County Supervisor, District 3
PowerPoint Presentation by Dwight Kadar and Mike Schroeder of Arizona Liberty
Sylvia Allen, State Senator, District 6, Arizona State Senate (opposition letter for the record)
Gail Griffin, State Senator, District 14, Arizona State Senate (opposition letter for the record)
Alvy Johnson, Mayor, Town of Fredonia (resolution in opposition for the record)
David Gowan, Speaker of the House, District 14, Arizona House of Representatives (Gave verbal testimony)
Brenda Barton, State Representative, District 6, Arizona House of Representatives (Gave verbal testimony)
Richard Anderson, Mayor, City of Kingman (Gave verbal testimony)
Mike Macauley, Chairman, Coconino NRCD, Arizona Association of Conservation Districts (Gave verbal testimony)
Donna Crouse, taxpayer (submitted written testimony at listening session in opposition)
Susan McAlpine, taxpayer (submitted written testimony at listening session in opposition)
Approximately 135 people attended the Public Listening Session in person and hundreds more watched online.
Williams City Councilman Frank McNelly, Mike Macauley on behalf of the Arizona Association of Conservation Districts, and Jim Parks on behalf of the Arizona American Farm Bureau Federation testified at the Public Listening Session.
Kingman Mayor Richard Anderson provided excellent testimony in opposition to the proposed Grand Canyon Watershed Monument.
Kelly Shaw-Norton, President of the Arizona Mining Association testified, “The Antiquities Act was intended as a tool to set aside ‘the smallest area compatible with the proper care and management of the objects to be protected.’ It was not meant to be used for expansive amounts of land without public input and Congressional approval.”
Harold Roberts, Executive Vice President of Conventional Operations for Energy Fuels Resources Inc. gave testimony on the negative impact a national monument designation would have on energy development in Arizona.
Craig Wiita, President of Wiita Mining and Exploration, testified on the need to reform the
In November of 2015, I introduced legislation, H.R. 3946, the Protecting Local Communities from Executive Overreach Act, which updates the 1906 Antiquities Act in order to protect property rights, water rights and jobs from presidential overreach. More information HERE. I have also passed an amendment and submitted an appropriation’s rider to prevent further abuse of the Antiquities Act. In February of 2015, I led my initial effort that was supported by 24 members of Congress to oppose declaration of the Grand Canyon Watershed under the Antiquities Act.
H.R. 3946 is supported by all five Arizona House Republicans and blocks two misguided monument efforts in the Grand Canyon Watershed and the Sedona Verde Valley, both of which have significant local opposition. The bill accomplishes this task by explicitly prohibiting declarations in Coconino and Mohave and Yavapai counties by executive fiat.
The proposed Grand Canyon Watershed would be significantly larger than the Grand Canyon. It’s a watershed though so there will be no new monies from Congress and no significant tourism dollars associated with this land grab. A unilateral declaration of the nearly two million acres in the Grand Canyon Watershed as a National Monument would stifle economic development, kill jobs and erode the extensive cooperation and success that federal and state agencies in Arizona have achieved to date.
Shamefully, some proponents of the monument have been lying to the American people by stating this was an idea that was initiated by tribal governments. This proposal was put forth by the Sierra Club, the Center for Biological Diversity and the Wilderness Society.
Groups in Opposition to the Grand Canyon Watershed Monument: American Farm Bureau Federation, National Cattlemen’s Beef Association; Public Lands Council; Motorcycle Industry Council (MIC); the Recreational Off-Highway Vehicle Association (ROHVA); Specialty Vehicle Institute of America (SVIA); Americans for Limited Government; Archery Trade Association; Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies; Boone and Crockett Club; Camp Fire Club of America; Council for Citizens Against Government Waste; Eagle Forum; Congressional Sportsmen’s Foundation; Council to Advance Hunting and the Shooting Sports; Dallas Safari Club; Delta Waterfowl Foundation; Heritage Action, Houston Safari Club; Masters of Foxhounds Association; Mule Deer Foundation; National Association of Forest Service Retirees; National Rifle Association; National Shooting Sports Foundation; National Wild Turkey Federation; North American Bear Foundation; Orion: The Hunter’s Institute; Quality Deer Management Association; Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation; Ruffed Grouse Society; Safari Club International, Tread Lightly!; Theodore Roosevelt Conservation Partnership; Wildlife Management Institute; Wild Sheep Foundation; Whitetails Unlimited; U.S. Sportsmen’s Alliance; Anglers United of Arizona; Arizona Antelope Foundation; Arizona Bass Federation Nation; Arizona Big Game Super Raffle; Arizona Cattle Feeders' Association; Arizona Cattle Growers' Association; Arizona Chapter National Wild Turkey Federation; Arizona Chapter Safari Club International; Arizona Deer Association; Arizona Desert Bighorn Sheep Society; Arizona Elk Society; Arizona Farm Bureau Federation; Arizona Flycasters Club; Arizona Game and Fish Commission; Arizona Houndsmen; Arizona Liberty; Arizona Mining Association; Arizona Outdoor Sports; Arizona Rock Products; Arizona Small Business Association; Arizona Wildlife Federation; Bullhead Area Chamber of Commerce; the Mayor and City Council of Bullhead City; Catron County; City of Williams; Cochise /Graham Cattle Growers Association; Coconino County Farm Bureau and Cattle Growers Association, Coconino Sportsmen; Concerned Citizens for America; Ellsworth Ranch; Gila County Cattle Growers Association; Grand Canyon State Electric Cooperative Association; Greenlee Cattle Growers Association; La Paz County Stockmen's Association; Livestock Market Digest Newspaper; Maricopa County Cattle Growers Association, Mohave County Board of Supervisors; Mohave Livestock Association, Mohave Sportsman’s Club; Navajo/Apache Cattle Growers Association; New Mexico Cattle Growers’ Association; New Mexico Wool Growers, Inc.; New Mexico Federal Lands Council; New Mexico Stockman magazine; Outdoor Experience 4 ALL; Prescott’s HWY69 Group; South Eastern Arizona Sportsmen; Southern Arizona Cattlemen's Protective Association; SRT Outdoors; Shake, Rattle and Troll Radio; The Bass Federation; Town of Fredonia; Veritas Research; Whitewater Cattle Co.; Xtreme Predator Callers; Yavapai Cattle Growers Association; 1.2.3.Go…
Formal Resolutions and Letters can be viewed by clicking on the links below:
American Hunter and Conservationists Letter
Arizona Game and Fish Commission Resolution
Arizona Sportsmen for Wildlife Conservation Letter
Arizona Sportsmen for Wildlife Conservation Resolution
Arizona Wildlife Federation Letter
Arizona Elk Society Letter
Motorcycle Industry Council (MIC), Specialty Vehicle Institute of America (SVIA) and the Recreational Off-Highway Vehicle Association (ROHVA) Letter
Theodore Roosevelt Conservation Partnership 3.15.16 Letter
Theodore Roosevelt Conservation Partnership 5.14.15 Letter
City of Williams Resolution
Town of Fredonia Resolution
Senate Concurrent Memorial 1001
Arizona House Legislative Resolution
Sylvia Allen, State Senator, District 6, Arizona State Senate, Letter
Gail Griffin, State Senator, District 14, Arizona State Senate. Letter
Steve Pierce, State Senator, District 1, Arizona State Senate, Letter
In addition, the following members of Congress have joined me in opposing the National Monument designation in the Grand Canyon Watershed: U.S. Senators John McCain and Jeff Flake, U.S. Representatives Mark Amodei, Brian Babin, Ken Buck, Paul Cook, Kevin Cramer, John Culberson, John Duncan, John Fleming, Trent Franks, Louie Gohmert, Bob Goodlatte, Crescent Hardy, Tim Huelskamp, Walter Jones, Mike Kelly, Steve King, Raul Labrador, Doug LaMalfa, Doug Lamborn, Mia Love, Cynthia Lummis, Patrick McHenry, Martha McSally, Tom McClintock, Dan Newhouse, Richard Nugent, Stevan Pearce, Aumua Amata Coleman Radewagen, Steve Russell, Matt Salmon, David Schweikert, Chris Stewart, Glenn Thompson, Scott Tipton, David Valadao, Daniel Webster, Bruce Westerman, Don Young and Ryan Zinke.
The following state officials from Arizona also oppose the monument designation:Governor Doug Ducey, Attorney General Mark Brnovich, Former U.S. Senator John Kyl, Arizona State Land Commissioner Lisa Atkins, Speaker of the House David Gowan, Senate President Andy Biggs, State Senator Gail Griffin, State Senator Sylvia Allen, State Senator Steve Pierce, Apache County Supervisor Barry Weller, Pinal County Supervisors Cheryl Chase, Stephen Miller and Anthony Smith, the Yavapai County Board of Supervisors, La Paz County Supervisor King Clapperton, the five-member Arizona Game and Fish Commission and 10 former commissioners.
In addition, Resolutions opposing the monument passed in the Arizona State House and State Senate.
Other Relevant Materials:
Arizona Chamber Foundation and Prosper Foundation Policy Brief
Arizona Game and Fish Department Pamphlet
Congressional Research Report on National Monuments
As always, you can follow everything I am working on in Arizona and Washington, D.C. through my website (https://gosar.house.gov) on Twitter @RepGosar, through Facebook at Representative Paul Gosar or on Instagram at RepGosar.
| Paul A. Gosar, D.D.S.
Member of Congress