ARIZONA NEWS

President Joe Biden coming to Grand Canyon for this week’s Arizona visit

Aug 7, 2023, 7:45 AM | Updated: 1:55 pm

PHOENIX — President Joe Biden is stopping at the Grand Canyon to start this week’s swing through three western states.

He is due to arrive in northern Arizona on Monday night and speak Tuesday about his administration’s conservation and climate resilience policies.

The White House hasn’t released specifics about what the president will discuss, but it reportedly will be related to efforts to designate a new national monument on more than 1 million acres of land adjacent to Grand Canyon National Park.

Tribes in Arizona have been pushing Biden to use his authority under the Antiquities Act of 1906 to create a new national monument called Baaj Nwaavjo I’tah Kukveni. “Baaj Nwaavjo” means “where tribes roam,” for the Havasupai people, while “I’tah Kukveni” translates to “our footprints,” for the Hopi tribe.

Tribes and environmentalists for decades have been trying to safeguard the land north and south of Grand Canyon National Park, while Republican lawmakers and the mining industry tout the economic benefits and raise mining as a matter of national security.

Representatives of various northern Arizona tribes have been invited to attend the president’s remarks. Havasupai Tribal Councilwoman Dianna Sue White Dove Uqualla is part of a group of tribal dancers who will perform a blessing.

“It’s really the uranium we don’t want coming out of the ground because it’s going to affect everything around us — the trees, the land, the animals, the people,” said Uqualla. “It’s not going to stop.”

In 2017, Democratic President Barack Obama backed off a full-on monument designation. The idea faced a hostile reception from Arizona’s Republican governor and two senators. Then-Gov. Doug Ducey threatened legal action, saying Arizona already has enough national monuments.

Opponents of establishing a monument have argued it won’t help combat a lingering drought and could prevent thinning of forests and stop hunters from keeping wildlife populations in check. Ranchers in Utah near the Arizona border say the monument designation would strip them of privately owned land.

The landscape of Arizona’s political delegation has since changed considerably. Gov. Katie Hobbs, Democratic Sen. Mark Kelly and Sen. Kyrsten Sinema, an independent, are all on board.

Last month, Rep. Raúl Grijalva and Sinema introduced legislation to direct the specifics of monument. Democratic Reps. Greg Stanton and Ruben Gallego cosponsored the House bill, and Kelly cosponsored the Senate version.

“We would like to thank Sen. Sinema and Rep. Grijalva for their leadership in promoting this important initiative,” Navajo Nation President Dr. Buu Nygren said in a July 18 press release.” The Navajo Nation knows from personal experience the risks of uranium mining, and a monument designation for the Greater Grand Canyon area will protect this sacred landscape from the potential hazards of opening new uranium mines in the region.”

In May, Hobbs wrote a letter to the Biden administration in support of the monument.

This week’s trip is Biden’s second to Arizona since he became president. The first came in December 2022, when he visited the construction site of the Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co. microchip plant in Phoenix.

He will also appear New Mexico and Utah this week before returning to Washington.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

We want to hear from you.

Have a story idea or tip? Pass it along to the KTAR News team here.

Arizona News

File photo of a Valley Metro bus. A pedestrian was killed when he was hit by a city bus in downtown...

KTAR.com

Pedestrian struck, killed by city bus he was trying to stop in downtown Phoenix

A pedestrian was killed when he was hit by a city bus in downtown Phoenix on Monday night, authorities said.

2 hours ago

Insomnia in the summer may be due to Arizona heat, doctor says...

Serena O'Sullivan

Struggling with insomnia? Arizona summer heat may be to blame, sleep expert says

Arizonans who are dealing with insomnia in the summer months can blame the heat, according to a sleep expert with Banner Health.

5 hours ago

The Maricopa County Recorder’s Office website is now offering a virtual tour of the Maricopa Coun...

KTAR.com

Maricopa County Recorder’s Office website offers self-guided virtual tour of elections center

The Maricopa County Recorder's Office website is now offering a virtual tour of the downtown Phoenix elections center.

5 hours ago

Desert tortoises: Do not disturb, AZGFD warns the public...

KTAR.com

Wildlife officials warn against disturbing wild desert tortoises

The Arizona Game and Fish Department (AZGFD) urges the public to keep desert tortoises wild.

5 hours ago

Banner Imaging and HeartFlow are collaborating to offer a new program to help new patients detect c...

KTAR.com

Banner selected to test Medicare dementia care model

The model will work to increase care coordination and improve access to services and supports, which includes respite care, people living with dementia and their caregivers.

6 hours ago

hit-and-run...

KTAR.com

Police investigating fatal overnight hit-and-run in central Phoenix

Phoenix PD responded to the area of 19th Avenue and Van Buren Street regarding a collision that involved a pedestrian.

13 hours ago

Sponsored Articles

...

Sanderson Ford

3 storylines to get you revved up for the 2024 Arizona Cardinals

Arizona Cardinals training camp is just a couple weeks away starting on July 25, and Sanderson Ford is revved up and ready to go.

...

Condor Airlines

Condor Airlines can get you smoothly from Phoenix to Frankfurt on new A330-900neo airplane

Adventure Awaits! And there's no better way to experience the vacation of your dreams than traveling with Condor Airlines.

...

Midwestern University

Midwestern University Clinics: transforming health care in the valley

Midwestern University, long a fixture of comprehensive health care education in the West Valley, is also a recognized leader in community health care.

President Joe Biden coming to Grand Canyon for this week’s Arizona visit