Report: Obama Won't Create Monument Around Grand Canyon

Grand Canyon | Mamie Zembal

President Barack Obama has decided not to create a national monument to protect land around Grand Canyon National Park, news outlets reported Friday.

According to the Associated Press, Representative Raúl Grijalva, an Arizona congressman who pushed for the Greater Grand Canyon Heritage National Monument, said administration officials told him this week that Obama had decided against the monument. The White House declined comment Friday, the AP said.

The 1.7 million-acre monument would have been the second-largest in the U.S., after Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument, and would have included sacred Native American archaeological sites, old-growth ponderosa pines and the Canyon's watershed. It would have included large swaths of the Kaibab National Forest both north and south of the Canyon, along with additional land on the Kaibab Plateau.

Indian tribes and environmental groups supported the proposal, while business interests and Arizona's two U.S. senators were among those opposed to it.

Grijalva told the AP that he'll continue to advocate for protecting the area around the Canyon from uranium mining and development.

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