PHOENIX, Ariz.—(ENEWSPF)–January 30, 2015. The Grand Canyon Watershed Coalition today praised actions by Arizona congressional leaders calling for permanent protection of the area north and south of the Grand Canyon. In a letter to President Obama, representatives Raul Grijalva, Ann Kirkpatrick and Ruben Gallego stressed the natural and economic importance of the watershed and the serious threats it faces from uranium mining and logging.
“These representatives speak on behalf of the residents of Arizona and the American public who overwhelmingly support protection of the Grand Canyon watershed,” said Katie Davis, public lands campaigner at the Center for Biological Diversity. “Their bold leadership on this issue highlights the critical role this region serves in sustaining imperiled wildlife, clean drinking water and a unique cultural heritage for future generations.”
“Designation of the Grand Canyon Watershed National Monument would finally secure full protection for this great American treasure, fulfilling Theodore Roosevelt’s century-old vision of scenery, solitude, and safe haven, safe passage for the splendid wildlife diversity of the Kaibab Plateau’s ancient forests, wetlands, and meadows,” said Kelly Burke, executive director of Grand Canyon Wildlands Council.
The Grand Canyon Watershed is home to California condors, mountain lions, and a host of other wildlife — some found nowhere else in the world. The proposed national monument would create a safe passageway for mule deer and other wildlife from Grand Canyon National Park to Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument.
“Designation of the Grand Canyon Watershed as a new national monument would provide a significant priority wildlife corridor connection with adjacent corridors in the 5,000-mile-long Western Wildway,” said Kim Vacariu of the Wildlands Network.
National monument designation would also permanently protect the area and its waters from additional damaging uranium mining. In an area where communities are already living with the toxic legacy of uranium mining, the health effects, water contamination and expensive cleanup accompanying plans for new mines cannot be ignored.
“Hundreds of thousands of Americans spoke up to protect Grand Canyon’s watershed from uranium mining and the Obama administration responded by enacting a 20-year mining ban,”said Sandy Bahr, chapter director for the Sierra Club’s Grand Canyon Chapter. “By establishing a national monument, the president can further those protections which are quickly ticking away. Sierra Club appreciates members of Arizona’s congressional delegation speaking up for Grand Canyon and the long-term protection of the waters, wildlife, and forests.”
“We hope President Obama will take this monumental step to permanently protect the Grand Canyon Watershed. Arizonans from all walks of life support protecting the Grand Canyon region, especially when it comes to keeping our drinking water clean. Arizona’s congressional leaders are right to call on the president to protect this special place,” said Bret Fanshaw of Environment Arizona.