VIDEO HIGHLIGHTS: Chair Grijalva, Dem Lawmakers, Tribal Leaders and Advocates Call for Grand Canyon Protections Ahead of Wednesday Hearing

Washington, D.C. – Chair Raúl M. Grijalva (D-Ariz.) spoke today alongside other leading Democratic lawmakers, Native American leaders, and Arizona conservationists and businesspeople on the need to pass the Grand Canyon Centennial Protection Act, Grijalva’s bill to establish a permanent moratorium on new mining claims around the Grand Canyon. The event comes a day before Wednesday’s hearing on the bill at 10:00 a.m. Eastern time in the Subcommittee on National Parks, Forests, and Public Lands.

The event came shortly before the Department of Commerce released new recommendations to the Department of the Interior on mining deregulation and “critical mineral” designation, which would likely impact the Grand Canyon and other environmentally sensitive regions around the country if put into practice.

Wednesday’s hearing, which will also feature consideration of Rep. Ben Ray Luján’s (D-N.M.) bill to protect the region around New Mexico’s Chaco Culture National Historic Park from destructive oil and gas drilling, will be streamed live at http://bit.ly/2Wjc4ha.

A short video including highlights from today’s press conference is available at http://bit.ly/2IloSOK. Grijalva’s bill, formally designated H.R. 1373, is co-sponsored by Rep. Tom O’Halleran, a Democrat who represents the Grand Canyon; Rep. Deb Haaland (D-N.M.), chair of the Subcommittee holding tomorrow’s hearing; and more than 100 other House Democrats.

“We can’t keep going through these cycles of fighting over whether to protect the most sensitive places on Earth. We need to make a decision, here and now, that the Grand Canyon will forever be safe from the impacts of uranium mining,” Grijalva said today. “That’s why I introduced this bill, and that’s why I’m moving it forward as chair of the Natural Resources Committee. It’s time to put an end to the questions around the Grand Canyon’s future. All of us are up here speaking today because we join in choosing the sustainable path.”

Statements of Support Not Read in Person at the Press Conference

Mike Quigley, Arizona State Director, The Wilderness Society

H.R. 1373 is a good, pragmatic step in the right direction. The proposed legislation has the support of local elected officials, of tribes with historic and current connections to the place, of conservation, recreation, and sportsmen groups, and Arizonans of all backgrounds. The Wilderness Society is grateful to Representatives Grijalva, O’Halleran, and Gallego as the original Arizona co-sponsors of the Grand Canyon Centennial Protection Act, and to the dozens-more representatives who are co-sponsoring this legislation. We encourage the subcommittee to advance H.R. 1373 without delay.

Randi Spivak, Public Lands Program Director, Center for Biological Diversity

This bill is a wonderful gift to the Grand Canyon’s future, safeguarding one of the world’s most spectacular natural wonders for generations to come. For seven decades this region has been afflicted by the uranium industry’s deadly pollution. It’s well past time to ensure the life-giving waters and springs of the grandest canyon on earth are permanently protected. We applaud Congressman Grijalva and tribal leaders for their years of leadership protecting the Grand Canyon region.

Kevin Dahl, Arizona Senior Program Manager, National Parks Conservation Association

The National Parks Conservation Association urges Congress to prevent new uranium mining and permanently protect underground water sources at one of the world’s most enduring, iconic landscapes. By passing recently introduced legislation, Congress has the opportunity to safeguard the legacy of the Grand Canyon National Park and the long-term health of water sources vital to the Havasupai people.

Press Contact

Media Contact: Adam Sarvana

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