Ranking Member Grijalva: Gosar Attack on Ironwood Forest Shows Little Respect for Historic Conservation, Local Input

Washington, D.C. – Ranking Member Raúl M. Grijalva (D-Ariz.) today said Rep. Paul Gosar’s (R-Ariz.) amendment to the Department of the Interior funding bill prohibiting the use of funds to manage Ironwood Forest National Monument – which is entirely within Rep. Grijalva’s district – shows no respect for historic conservation or local input. The public strongly supports maintaining national monuments in Arizona, as the Trump administration learned in the midst of its 2017 push to shrink national monuments around the country, and Grijalva argued that Gosar’s move was more about ideology than public benefit.

“A monument that protects everything from prehistoric art to unique Sonoran cultural history to at-risk species deserves better than a legislative mugging,” Grijalva said today. “This bill is about funding the Interior Department, not exercising petty ideological grievances. The people I represent support Ironwood Forest just the way it is, and Rep. Gosar should look elsewhere if he’s trying to make a point.”

President Bill Clinton established Ironwood Forest National Monument in 2000 to protect a piece of the Sonoran Desert that includes many threatened and endangered plant species, the historic Santa Ana del Chiquiburitac Mission, and a large collection of prehistoric cultural resources, including rock art that dates back thousands of years.

Gosar’s amendment would functionally strip away the environmental protections associated with the area’s monument status and open Ironwood Forest to mineral extraction and other uses inconsistent with environmental or historic conservation.

The overall bill is expected to receive a House vote tomorrow evening.

Press Contact

Media Contact: Adam Sarvana

(202) 225-6065 or (202) 578-6626 mobile