For Immediate Release
On the Eve of National Park Centennial, Environment America Doubles Down on effort for Greater Grand Canyon Heritage National Monument
Phoenix, Ariz. - To celebrate the National Park Service centennial, Environment America touted a nationwide campaign calling on President Obama to stop new uranium mining by creating a new National Monument surrounding America's most iconic national park: the Grand Canyon.
More than 40 organizers are on the ground in cities across Arizona, Colorado, New Mexico, and Nevada, gathering petitions and rallying small business support for creating the Greater Grand Canyon Heritage National Monument.
As of press time, organizers have collected over 6,000 petitions and identified more than 500 small businesses in support of creating the monument.
A small business in Flagstaff, Ariz shows support for the proposed monument.
As of Labor Day, door-to-door canvassers in nine states will distribute literature to more than a quarter million households across the country over the next several months, explaining the opportunity for the president to prevent new mining and other destructive activity on the 1.7 million acres of public lands that surround the park. In addition, 10 organizers will take their posts in states from Washington to Florida, Maine to Missouri to educate and mobilize students and other concerned citizens calling on President Obama to create the Greater Grand Canyon Heritage National Monument before he leaves office.
"The Grand Canyon is not only breathtaking, it is a symbol of Americans' spectacular commitment to our natural heritage. I can't imagine a better time to permanently protect the greatest American icon than the National Park Service centennial," said Margie Alt, executive director of Environment America. "From Florida to Washington State; Maine to Missouri to Montana, we'll do everything we can to make sure the Grand Canyon is just as special 100 years from now as it is today."
A youngster in Albuquerque, N.M. shows her love for Grand Canyon.
Grand Canyon National Park is one of the nation’s most visited, drawing 5.5 million people last year for hiking, white water rafting, and more, sustaining thousands of jobs and generating $300 million in economic activity.
The proposed monument, overwhelmingly supported by the public both inside and outside of Arizona, is home to North America’s largest old growth ponderosa pine forest and dozens of unique and endangered wildlife, from bighorn sheep to the California condor. It also hosts thousands of archeological sites dating back millennia.
Mining is not permitted within the park itself, and new mines are temporarily prevented under a 20-year moratorium issued by the Obama administration in 2012.
But as the price of uranium climbs, companies are pushing for the moratorium to be lifted. One company, Energy Fuels, Inc. has begun to reopen a mine just six miles from the park’s popular South Rim.
Old mines around and inside the national park have created a toxic legacy of water contamination that lingers to this day, and it is widely believed that new mining could further harm the Colorado River, which provides drinking water to more than 25 million people downstream.
“It took millions of years for the Colorado River to form the Grand Canyon, one of the most amazing places on earth,” said Phoenix-based Bret Fanshaw of Environment America. “On the hundredth anniversary of our National Parks we’re calling on the president to fortify his conservation legacy, and stop reckless mining from ruining this American icon.”
Supporters of the Greater Grand Canyon Heritage National Monument in Colorado Springs, Colo.
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Environment America is a federation of state-based, citizen-funded environmental advocacy organizations. Our professional staff in 27 states and Washington, D.C., combines independent research, practical ideas and tough-minded advocacy to overcome the opposition of powerful special interests and win real results for the environment. Environment America draws on 30 years of success in tackling environmental problems.