Leg Dems protest Republican sham hearing to preempt Biden Grand Canyon announcement
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
August 7, 2023
PHOENIX – Just a week after the Legislature adjourned sine die following the longest session in history, Republicans plan a last-minute taxpayer-funded field trip to Kingman to distract from the Biden Administration's commitment to supporting and protecting Indigenous peoples and the environment. The joint Democratic members of the Senate Natural Resources, Energy and Water (NREW), House Natural Resources, Energy and Water, and House Land, Agriculture, and Rural Affairs (LARA) Committees will not be participating in today’s politically motivated hearing.
As the Ranking Democrat on the Senate NREW Committee, Senator Sundareshan (LD18) stated, “It is disappointing that after the longest session in our state’s history, Republicans have failed to learn the benefits of bipartisanship. The Democrats standby ready to participate in meaningful discussions on how the state can use our authority to implement policies that address climate change, protect our environment, and support Indigenous communities; however, this special meeting falls short of those priorities. Our state government should celebrate the investments and attention our most sacred natural features are receiving from the federal government, with the hope that they will be preserved for generations of Arizonans to come.”
Representative Stahl Hamilton (LD21), Ranking Democrat on the House NREW Committee, added, “Designating the area surrounding the Grand Canyon as a national monument would protect it from uranium mining, which would protect underground aquifers and drinking water for the surrounding communities that rely on the supply and have already experienced the dangers of uranium mining. This last-minute special meeting calls for public testimony, but the community most directly impacted by this designation has already spoken. Efforts to establish this area as a national monument are spearheaded by a large group of Indigenous tribes seeking to have their land and their resources protected from harmful mining projects, our commitment is to support them.”
Representative Lydia Hernandez (LD24), Ranking Democrat on the House LARA Committee, provided this context as well, “President Biden will be in Arizona on Tuesday to discuss what his administration is doing to address climate change and to discuss plans to designate land surrounding the Grand Canyon as the Baaj Nwaavjo I'tah Kukveni Grand Canyon National Monument. Democrats were made aware of the special meeting on Friday evening, just one workday before the hearing is scheduled. This is insufficient time for committee members to arrange their schedules and make travel plans given the committee is being held out of town. This is a highly unusual and partisan way to run government, which doesn’t align with Democratic values or the commitment we made to our constituents to deliver real results.”