President Biden is under fire for designating a million acres in Arizona as a national monument. On a visit to the Grand Canyon, the President unveiled a $44 million package to strengthen climate change initiatives in the nation’s national parks. Critics, however, say that in designating the enormous plot of land as unusable, farming and industry will suffer a severe blow.
National Mining Association spokesperson Ashley Burke said the White House move makes clear that this administration does not favor domestic mining. “By continuing to block mineral-rich lands from responsible mining, this administration is imperiling our supply chains,” he said, before adding that this will rob Americans of job opportunities and local communities of much-needed revenue.
Burke furthermore noted that the plot of land in question is a particularly valuable uranium source – a key material for developing nuclear power. The Uranium Producers of America group says most US uranium is mined in the Colorado Plateau, which is included in the newly-designated national park.
There are also concerns in Utah about the President’s move. Republican Utah Senator Mitt Romney said that while the designated land is exclusively located in Arizona, there will be knock-on effects in Utah and other states. He said ranchers who graze their cattle on public lands will now be subjected to restrictions or “prevented from using the land altogether.”
While he was in the southwestern region of the US, President Biden did not take the opportunity to address the border crisis, as Republicans quickly pointed out. His stay in Arizona corresponded with a border field hearing organized by House Oversight Committee Republicans, who took the opportunity to condemn Democrats for refusing to participate and accuse President Biden of doing nothing to protect America’s borders.
During the hearing, a local Sherriff testified that South American cartels are now using social media to recruit young Americans to act as getaway drivers to rush migrants into the US interior once they cross the border.