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4/22/2013 10:32:00 PM
Gosar bill would stop presidents from creating Arizona monuments
Paul Gosar
Paul Gosar
Joanna Dodder Nellans
The Daily Courier

U.S. Rep. Paul Gosar of Prescott has joined a handful of House Republicans seeking to halt the power of the president to create national monuments in their states.

Gosar introduced H.R. 1495, The Arizona Land Sovereignty Act, earlier this month. He tried the same bill in 2011. It would prevent presidents from expanding or creating national monuments through their existing authority under the Antiquities Act of 1906.

House Republicans in Nevada, Utah, New Mexico and Idaho have introduced identical bills this year. Congress already removed that presidential power in Wyoming and Alaska after controversial designations.

Another new House Republican bill would take away the president's unilateral authority altogether.

"No president... should have the power to unilaterally declare how lands in our states are managed," Gosar said in a video about the bill. "The public deserves the opportunity to have their voices heard on any land designation that may restrict their right to access."

Gosar cited potential monument restrictions on mining, hunting, fishing, camping and other recreation. Mining restrictions are common on monuments including the Agua Fria National Monument in Yavapai County.

The bill would, for example, prevent the U.S. Bureau of Land Management from acquiring inholdings in the Agua Fria National Monument and adding them to the monument through a presidential action without Congress.

Sandy Bahr, head of the Sierra Club in Arizona, criticized the bill.

"It's pretty shortsighted and inconsistent with what the people of Arizona have said," Bahr said.

The Grand Canyon was protected from further mining by Teddy Roosevelt's use of the Antiquities Act in 1908, Bahr noted. Roosevelt also used it to protect the Petrified Forest in 1906.

While Gosar argues that national monument designations can hurt the economy, Bahr contends the opposite.

The Antiquities Act was the first federal law to protect cultural or natural resources. It gives a president the authority to set aside for protection "historic landmarks, historic and prehistoric structures, and other objects of historic or scientific interest."

The 70,900-acre Agua Fria monument is home to more than 400 archaeological sites.

Since the Antiquities Act was created by Congress in 1906, all but three presidents have used it.

President Barack Obama just created five new monuments last month, citing a 2006 National Parks and Conservation Association study that says the National Park System generates more than $4 in value to the public for every tax dollar invested by the federal government.

A study by the research firm Headwaters Economics found that the local economies surrounding new national monuments grew in 17 of 17 cases. The study looked at monuments larger than 10,000 acres created after 1981. It included the Agua Fria National Monument that Bill Clinton created in 2000.

The study says travel and tourism represented about 20 percent of total employment in Yavapai County in 2008. Population, jobs, personal income and income all grew by double digits during the eight years after the monument was created.

Obama's monument designations came shortly after former Interior secretary and Arizona governor Bruce Babbitt criticized Obama for allowing oil and gas leases on six million new acres while adding protections on only 2.6 million acres. Babbitt said presidents Bill Clinton and George W. Bush protected about one acre for every acre made available for oil and gas drilling.

The last Congress was the first since 1966 that didn't set aside any lands for conservation as a park, monument or wilderness.





Reader Comments

Posted: Wednesday, April 24, 2013
Article comment by: Mr Maverick

What short sighted responses. Our National Park system brings millions of dollars to the states plus it brings visitors to our country. These natural treasures have remained for our children to see the beauty of America. There was whining at the time Roosevelt did this but he had a strong will and a vision. Some people would rather give this land to the mining companies via an 1872 law which allows them to purchase the land for between $2.50-$5.00 per acre. Our mining companies ruin the land and then they leave the mess for taxpayers to clean up. FYI the mining companies are not required to mine if they would rather use the land for something else like a sky lodge. Thank you for labeling me a tree hugger. I wear that badge proudly. I will not be one of the profiteers who believe the almighty dollar is more important than anything else. Unbridled capitalism is not good for the country.

Posted: Wednesday, April 24, 2013
Article comment by: Parker Anderson

Craig Arps......wow. It takes a real Tea Partyer to proclaim that the Grand Canyon should not have been preserved by the U.S. Government. Think about that statement.....

Posted: Tuesday, April 23, 2013
Article comment by: Rob Beauchamp

The Sierra club has no creditability, they have no concept of human needs. If they had their way, Glen Canyon Dam would have been breached years ago and CA, NV, and AZ would have run out of water by now. Listen to them if your choice is to follow foolish ideas from foolish people.

Posted: Tuesday, April 23, 2013
Article comment by: Craig Arps

The Constitution does not give the President power to seize land for any purpose, however noble it may be. I really don't care what Congress and Roosevelt did in 1906, if it's not in the Constitution, it wasn't right then and it's not right now.

Posted: Tuesday, April 23, 2013
Article comment by: p lf

@ where is it ok to dig
Good points. But who decides? The foreign corporations that want to exploit the nations resources (many on federal lands owned by all of us (sorry Nye County types)) for immediate gain?

But the problem becomes when he advocates basically giving our resources away for free. Then we have to buy them back at really high world market prices and someone gets incredibly rich off of our natural resources. And they don't have to pay any external costs for degradation of other resources such as air, water, wildlife, etc. Probably a multinational or foreign mining operation at that.

So whats the conservative thing here. Just give it all away as fast as you can or take a measured approach and maybe, just maybe consider a bigger picture than a foreign nationals and or big campaign contributors short term profit

So sure, we do need to extract resources. But do we have to give our (we the peoples) resources away so cheaply and with zero consideration of externalities. Seems non-conservative and very short sighted to me.


Posted: Tuesday, April 23, 2013
Article comment by: Give'm Hell Harry

Teddy Roosevelt, one of our greatest Republican Presidents is spinning in his grave watching the buffoons like Gosar make a mess of our country and their party.

And its mostly for the benefit of foreign owned mining companies. Shame!


Posted: Tuesday, April 23, 2013
Article comment by: The Rev

You can really sense respect for the office in many of these comments.

Posted: Tuesday, April 23, 2013
Article comment by: Where Is It OK To Dig?

You tree huggers amaze me. Do you truely understand where your resources come from? They come from a hole in the ground. A dirty messy hole that has to be dug some where. Arizona is rich in minerals like COPPER. That provides electricity to SCHOOLS, HOMES, JOBS and all your fancy electrical gadgets.

It is just like the food supply you want to eat the steak but you don't want to see how it is killed.

I don't believe in scorched earth and I don't believe Gosar does either. So back away from the ledge he isn't going to flaten the entire state he wants to ensure that we have access to the resources we need when we need them.


Posted: Tuesday, April 23, 2013
Article comment by: Mr Maverick

Undoubtedly Theodore Roosevelt preserved one of our greatest assets, our National Park System while many were against the idea. Now we have a former Democrat and mine lobbyist turned Republican with a shady history, blocking our heritage. Here is an example of his actions which are very questionable. Gosar teamed up with his former 2010 campaign rival, Ann Kirkpatrick, in order to pass legislation that would allow one of the world's largest undeveloped copper resources to be mined by Resolution Copper Mining Co. The Southeast Arizona Land Exchange and Conservation Act would give 2,400 acres of the Tonto National Forest to the company in exchange for over 5,000 acres of land the company owns throughout the state for conservation.

Posted: Tuesday, April 23, 2013
Article comment by: Tie Me To The Length Of That

Substitute teacher, Tom Steele writes: “Progressives like the Sierra Club and the Democrats want to control and define what "We the People" can and cannot due in our own states.”

Due instead of do is just as bad as using the word loose instead of lose. Tom, I really hope that you do not teach anything related to spelling, grammar, reading, English or language arts.



As to this bill, it stinks too. It is about mining and nothing else.


Posted: Tuesday, April 23, 2013
Article comment by: bob grant

Another bill courtesy of ALEC ,they want to do to AZ what the Frackers have done to Montana ,only monuments that they want are stacked shiny gold.
Dont forget Gosar is a dentist they always say this is not going to hurt!!.
Get him and the others out .DEMS Step UP and make AZ blue and Green instead of black and destroyed!!


Posted: Tuesday, April 23, 2013
Article comment by: Hokas Pokas

A brilliant idea, Mr. Gosar.

I don't care what statistics are cited. Tourism provides mostly low skill, low wage jobs and does not generate wealth.


Posted: Tuesday, April 23, 2013
Article comment by: Hooty Hoo

Slick Willy created the Agua Fria Monument to keep Monica Lewinsky's family quiet. He also created on in Utah around the Escalante River. Gosar is right, these things are build around Beltway cronyism. They should go away. The tree huggers would have the whole cam dountry one big Happy Campsite. What we need is a few coal mines darn it!

Posted: Tuesday, April 23, 2013
Article comment by: It's a racket

The Federal government ought to stick to it's own knitting. It's doing a terrible job on everything for which it actually has responsibility.

Posted: Tuesday, April 23, 2013
Article comment by: Sheesh Deluxe

I assume Gosar believes tourists will travel here to see our beautiful mining and logging operations.

Posted: Tuesday, April 23, 2013
Article comment by: tired of it all

Time for a massive email and letter writing campaign. This guy is a moron in the extreme. When I'm done here, I'll email him a "nasty gram".

Posted: Tuesday, April 23, 2013
Article comment by: I'm just sayin'

I'm for anything that will keep 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue out of the states regarding monuments.

I think Obama's heavy-handed interference into states' affairs is creating a backlash.

He's been particularly bothered over Arizona's mere existence. It shows how petty he can be.

We'll take care of state affairs - he can pave the federal highways (with our tax money) and take care of the military.


Posted: Tuesday, April 23, 2013
Article comment by: w u

Monuments shouldn't be just willy nilly, true... But the Grand Canyon was a monument first - What do you think it would be like now if Paul's owners had got a hold of it? I'd bet Paul and his masters would have a gated community on the rim, or an ultra exclusive club.

Gosar and his owners who bought him are all for giving away our natural resources for free (to themselves... no bidding needed). He is not conservative.

He should think about the future with a little more open mind and thoughtfulness (Hint Paul - the future encompasses more than you next vacation or the next election). But his owners have his ear and he wants to be a good boy.


Posted: Tuesday, April 23, 2013
Article comment by: Steven Ayres

Someone anonymous asks: "How did this man ever manage to get into office?"

Um, did you not notice his competitors in the last election? That blame must be shared by Republicans for running only extremists in the primary, and by Democrats for failing to find any credible candidate at all.


Posted: Tuesday, April 23, 2013
Article comment by: you get what you vote for... .

Rather than 'winner winner chicken dinner' this reeks of 'loser loser mine lobby schmoozer'!

Elected with promises of Jobs Jobs Jobs... and in office with 'anti-monument' legislation among other inane ideas.

Glad that he carpet bagged it over to p-town... that might be the only place in az. that would elect this guy- how does it feel to be played like a cheap harmonica?

He is laughing all the way to the bank and all you get is form letters and useless legislation- sweet deal?


Posted: Tuesday, April 23, 2013
Article comment by: Disgusting Greed

How did this man ever manage to get into office? Arizona has a habit of electing off the wall thinking representatives in government.

This is greed at it's highest form. Who is paying this man to lobby such ridiculousness?

Could it possibly be the mining industry that all but destroyed Arizona landscape and air quality with its lack of respect for the earth in the 1950's? The stench coming from this kind of thinking smells like mining pollution.

Had it not been for previous land acts, Arizona would have been destroyed. It is greed and total lack of thinking by people like Gosar that will destroy the Arizona landscape.

These legislative Acts were put into place to protect the public lands from hacks like Gosar.

Hurt the economy Gosar says...what is the man thinking? Does he know about the Grand Canyon? just to name one??? Get this man out of office.


Posted: Tuesday, April 23, 2013
Article comment by: coomon sense veteran

So what else is new? Gosar and most of his GOP cronies are very shortsighted (besides being anti-wildlife, anti-environment), when it comes to what is best for the environment and the economy, as both are linked.
It is called eco-tourism and, it WORKS!!


Posted: Tuesday, April 23, 2013
Article comment by: Lena Sanchez

We are a nation made up of states and that means we are entitled to federal accolades, which is how I see created National Monuments. Since there hasn’t been a move to do any of what Gosar’s bill speaks of, this seems like a crazy waste of time and only another publicity stunt. This is another step in allowing big mining corporations the ability to take over our parks and decimating them with mining, which the Feds are not allowing at this time. Or maybe he wants to remove Arizona as a state within the U.S… If Gosar wants to really help our state and country then get some jobs bills on the agenda by starting with doing away with the sequester that is putting us into another recession!

Posted: Tuesday, April 23, 2013
Article comment by: Daddy Dave

How about working on the immigration and budget compromises instead of inflammatory nonsense legislation. Throughout history the "locals" haven't appreciated their rare features because they grew up with them. It took an "outsider" to recognize the beauty and rarity of the place.

Posted: Tuesday, April 23, 2013
Article comment by: Gosar appears

to be another front man for the mining industry. I doubt he gives a you know what about the general public using these lands.


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