President Biden declares new national monument surrounding Grand Canyon
President Joe Biden, standing against the majestic backdrop of the Grand Canyon, marked the beginning of a three-day tour in the American Southwest by designating extensive areas of sacred land as a newly protected national monument. The move, aimed at bolstering his climate advocacy, serves to underscore his administration’s commitment to environmental preservation and sets him apart from the Republican opposition.
In the presence of Native Americans dressed in traditional attire, President Biden proudly signed the declaration to establish what will now be known as the “Baaj Nwaavjo I’tah Kukveni – Ancestral Footprints of the Grand Canyon.” This momentous decision, undertaken with the Grand Canyon’s breathtaking geological formations as a backdrop, carries immense significance for both the environment and indigenous communities.
As the President looked out over the sprawling landscape of grasses, shrubs, and hillsides, he stressed the broader implications of this move. “Preserving these lands is good not only for Arizona and the planet but for the economy and the soul of the nation,” President Biden stated, his words punctuated by a fist pump.
The decision to designate the national monument covers nearly one million acres, comprising three distinct areas encircling the Grand Canyon. It promises to safeguard the region’s unique biodiversity and historical value, addressing the concerns of local Native American tribes who have long sought protective measures against mining activities.
Grassroots environmental group the Sierra Club applauded President Biden’s decision as a “historic step” that will secure these lands for generations to come. “This move safeguards traditional use and ensures these lands will be protected for generations to come,” the Sierra Club stated in a press release.
The designation of the protected territory also comes with a prohibition on new uranium mining projects within the site, while existing mining rights remain unaffected, according to the White House.
President Biden’s visit to the Grand Canyon is strategic, not only to emphasize his dedication to climate change but also to draw attention to his administration’s achievements and differentiate his stance from Republican counterparts. With southwestern states currently grappling with record-setting heat waves and drought, the President’s commitment to combatting climate change gains additional significance.
As part of his tour, President Biden is expected to continue promoting his climate agenda and economic initiatives in New Mexico and Utah. These visits are anticipated to highlight his administration’s broader vision for a sustainable future and underscore his commitment to combatting climate change on both the national and global stages.