u.s. rep. paul gosar

u.s. rep. paul gosar.(p o: charlie leight/the republic)

the media: internet.

who said it: rep. paul gosar.

title: representative, arizona’s 4th congressional district.

party: republican.

the comment: "since 2010, extremist environmental groups have been pushing a far-left proposal that explicitly seeks to lock-up 1.7 million acres in the grand canyon watershed. shamefully, proponents have lied to the american people by stating this idea was initiated by tribal governments."

the forum: column for the hill.

what we're looking at: whether proponents o rand canyon national monument lied about tribal governments initiating the proposal.

analysis: there’s been widespread anticipation that president barack obama might, before leaving office, create a national monument as a buffer around grand canyon national park. if obama does take action, a 20-year year ban on mining claims could be made permanent while still allowing hunting, grazing and other recreation to continue on the land under existing laws.

it’s not the first such effort. rep. raul grijalva, d-ariz., proposed in november 2015 the greater grand canyon heritage national monument act, which would have set aside 1.7 million acres and banned uranium mining in the area. the legislation stalled but proponents hope obama will use it as a blueprint for the national monument created via executive action under the antiquities act.

arizona’s republican establishment, including gosar, gov. doug ducey, and sens. john mccain and jeff flake, has opposed the plan.

gosar made his claim that advocates had lied about who “initiated” the plan in a column for the hill in which he also criticized obama for “unprecedented abuse of executive overreach” in setting aside land for national monuments.

asked about gosar's claim that advocates had lied about the tribes' involvement, gosar spokesman steven smith cited a 2015 news release from the house committee on natural resources about grijalva’s bill. it stated that the legislation represents a “tribal-led effort to protect the grand canyon watershed and surrounding area.”

smith cited another 2015 news release from the center for biological diversity that applauded the navajo nation and the hopi, havasupai and hualapai tribes for “leadership in a ncing a national monument proposal...”

smith said those statements imply the tribes had initiated the proposal when it was actually initiated by environmental groups.

“it is shameful that rep. grijalva and extremist groups like the center for biological diversity continue to use tribes as political pawns to push the false narrative that the proposed (for the monument) was ‘tribal-led,’ ” smith wrote in an email.

but does stating that the plan is “tribal-led” or that the tribes showed “leadership in a ncing” the proposal imply they initiated it?

kelly burke is executive director of the grand canyon wildlands council, which is encouraging supporters to write obama to express their support for the monument. burke said no one should infer from news releases describing the tribes' involvement as “leadership” and “tribal-led” that the tribes initiated the proposal. rather the tribes have played a “leadership role” in what has been an ongoing effort.

“the tribes have certainly had a leadership role,” she said. “we have all collaborated but in support of what the tribes have wanted.”

the language of grijalva’s bill was written in collaboration with leaders of the havasupai, hualapai and hopi tribes. grijalva said in a statement at the time, “sometimes when proclamations are made under the antiquities act regarding something as large as the grand canyon, tribes are put in the backseat. this bill promotes a collaborative working relationship..."

troy honahnie, staff istant for the hopi office of the chairman, said the tribes negotiated with grijalva’s office over the bill’s language and helped craft the message to promote the initiative.

“rep. gosar diminished the role of the tribes for his own convenience,” honahnie wrote in an email.

the navajo nation has long opposed uranium mining on their land near the grand canyon. the gr roots group forgotten people, which is based on the navajo nation, has worked on uranium-related issues for years.

in october 2015, navajo nation president russell begaye said in a news release that he supports the greater grand canyon heritage national monument act "for one simple reason: it prevents uranium mining on the lands selected to be part of the monument." members of the nation people are “dying from various forms of cancer,” he said, and they believe “many are directly related to the uranium mining of the 1940s through the 80s, and the leftover tailings from the uranium mill processing sites.”

carletta tilousi, a member of the havasupai tribal council, said the monument initiative is one of many alliances that tribal governments have formed with environmental groups when they have common objectives.

“they (the environmental groups) joined our interest because their goal is to protect the environment,” she said.

bottom line: there is no evidence that environmental groups lied about tribal governments initiating the proposal to protect 1.7 million acres around the grand canyon.

gosar’s spokesman cited news releases in which he says such claims were implied. those news releases, however, reference only the tribes’ leadership on the issue. both environmental groups and the tribes say they helped draft and promote the legislation and that the proposal is part of an ongoing effort to address an issue of concern dating to the 1940s.

the finding: no stars: false

sources: arizonans agree: no new national monument, the hill; rep. gosar to host public listening session in kingman, az: “government land grabs, exposing the truth”, gosar.house.gov; h.r.3882 - greater grand canyon heritage national monument act, congress.gov; grijalva joins tribes monday in flagstaff to unveil bill creating grand canyon national monument honoring tribal history, culture, democrats-naturalresources.house.gov; bill would protect 1.7 million acres near grand canyon as national monument, biologicaldiversity.org; president begaye supports congressman grijalva’s bill to put a moratorium on uranium mining in grand canyon, navajo-nsn.gov

67 connectlinkedinemailmore

read or share this story: http://azc.cc/2hbsmyt