Environmental Group Makes Misleading Claims on Arizona Monument Designation

WASHINGTON (November 19, 2015) – Today, the Center for Western Priorities released a study purporting to show the economic benefits of the proposed Greater Grand Canyon Heritage National Monument in Arizona. The study cited claims that a positive impact of $51 million from land management operations, grazing, mining, and forestry in addition to tourism would result from the designation. Public Lands Council President Brenda Richards said, in reality, the proposed designation would all but eliminate these historic businesses.

“It is disingenuous for this agenda-driven environmental group to claim threatened multiple-use practices, like grazing, as economic benefits of a proposed 1.7 million acre monument when they will no doubt become casualties of the designation,” said Richards. “According to the Center for Western Priorities, livestock grazing in the Greater Grand Canyon Heritage National Monument area generates $7.61 million for the local economy. It is simply insulting to claim the hard work of these ranching families as an economic benefit of the very thing that will drive them out of business.”

Antiquities Act abuse continues to be an area of concern for everyone living and working in the West. The current administration has already used the law 17 times to circumvent federal environmental review policies and lock up millions of acres with the stroke of a pen. The original intent of the 1906 law was to protect small areas like archaeological sites, not huge swaths of the American West. In fact, the act specifics that the President is to reserve “the smallest area compatible with the proper care and management of the objects to be protected.” To date, the Antiquities Act has been used by presidents 145 times, restricting access to hundreds of millions of acres of public land.