3 Arizona congressmen push to shut down national monuments in state

Jul 10, 2017, 1:20 PM | Updated: Jul 11, 2017, 10:12 am
Vermilion Cliffs National Monument (Bureau of Land Management Photo)...
Vermilion Cliffs National Monument (Bureau of Land Management Photo)
(Bureau of Land Management Photo)

PHOENIX — Three Arizona congressmen joined a list of a politicians who want some of their states’ national monuments removed from protected status.

Republicans Andy Biggs, Trent Franks and Paul Gosar signed the June 30 letter to Ryan Zinke, secretary of the Department of the Interior.

President Donald Trump’s executive order signed in April put 25 national monuments under review.

The trio targeted Ironwood Forest north of Tucson, the Sonoran Desert near Phoenix, Parashant near the Grand Canyon and Vermilion Cliffs, also near the Grand Canyon.

The four national monuments were designated under former President Bill Clinton’s 1906 Antiquities Act. The letter states that the act had “good intentions” but later became a “tyrannical tool that presidents have manipulated to exercise unfettered land grabs to the detriment of state and local interests.”

The letter from members of the Western Caucus also described one of the designations as “an administrative burden” and said another disrupted ranchers’ access to grazing land for their herds and that red tape interfered with energy resources.

Gosar chairs the Congressional Western Caucus, which made recommendations for closures and decreasing the size of some monuments. At least one was recommended to be left alone.

Democratic Rep. Tom O’Halleran wrote Zinke in May asking for careful consideration of the monuments.

Monday was the last day for the public to submit comments to the review.

The Associated Press contributed to to this report.

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3 Arizona congressmen push to shut down national monuments in state