For Immediate Release, May 20, 2023
Taylor McKinnon, (801) 300-2414, firstname.lastname@example.org
Center for Biological Diversity Statement on Secretary Haaland Meeting on Proposed Monument
GRAND CANYON NATIONAL PARK— The Center for Biological Diversity issued the following statement in response to Interior Secretary Deb Haaland’s meeting today with the Grand Canyon Tribal Coalition concerning its proposed Baaj Nwaavjo I’tah Kukveni Grand Canyon National Monument. Baaj Nwaavjo means “where tribes roam” to the Havasupai, and I’tah Kukveni means “our footprints” to the Hopi.
“I'm grateful Secretary Haaland met with the Grand Canyon Tribal Coalition. This is a crucial step toward protecting this spectacular place and its life-giving waters and wildlife far into the future,” said Taylor McKinnon, Southwest director at the Center. “The administration needs to listen to the wisdom of the Tribal leaders who’ve fought for generations to protect the Grand Canyon region from more toxic uranium mining. President Biden shouldn't hesitate to designate the Baaj Nwaavjo I’tah Kukveni Grand Canyon National Monument.”
The 1.1 million-acre proposed monument near Grand Canyon National Park spans the ancestral homelands of several regional Tribes and builds on efforts since 2008 to permanently protect Grand Canyon’s adjoining landscapes from new uranium mining. The boundary is similar to the 2012 Northern Arizona withdrawal that banned new uranium mines around Grand Canyon for 20 years. Federal legislation, introduced but never passed, would have made those protections permanent.
Uranium mining around the Grand Canyon has damaged sacred sites and depleted and polluted aquifers that feed Grand Canyon’s springs and streams. The proposed monument would permanently ban new uranium mines. Uranium mining on claims with rights predating the 2012 mining ban, like the Pinyon Plains mine near Grand Canyon’s South Rim, still threaten the region’s aquifers, springs and cultural values.
The Grand Canyon Tribal Coalition is made up of the Havasupai Tribe, Hopi Tribe, Hualapai Tribe, Kaibab Band of Paiute Indians, Las Vegas Band of Paiute Indians, Moapa Band of Paiute Indians, Navajo Nation, Paiute Indian Tribe of Utah, San Juan Southern Paiute Tribe, Pueblo of Zuni, and Yavapai-Apache Nation.
The Center for Biological Diversity is a national, nonprofit conservation organization with more than 1.7 million members and online activists dedicated to the protection of endangered species and wild places.