Welcome to another episode of “What the Hell, Arizona?” starring none other than Republican Congressman Paul Gosar. You know: one of those guys who makes headlines for all the wrong reasons. Well, Gosar is back at it again, and this time he’s taking on a national treasure: the Grand Canyon.
The Monumental Declaration
First, let’s review. Indigenous communities hold the Grand Canyon lands sacred. In August, President Joe Biden designated a chunk of the area as the “Baaj Nwaavjo I’tah Kukveni-Ancestral Footprints of the Grand Canyon National Monument.” This bars mining on almost 1 million acres in northern Arizona. It’s like a love letter to nature, history, and indigenous heritage. But hold your wild horses; not everyone is sending heart emojis over this.
Enter Gosar, stage far-right. He’s on a mission to reverse Biden’s monument designation…for that matter, he’d be perfectly happy to reverse everything Biden does…just because. Anyway, some of us think the Grand Canyon area is beautifully majestic and breathtaking. While others see dollar signs, like Grabby Gosar. Gosar and his cronies are eager to trash the neighborhood by digging up uranium. Ick!
Oh, Beautiful For Spacious Mines
Yes, you read that right. Uranium. Because nothing says “America the Beautiful” quite like ugly scars and holes in the landscape, abandoned mine shafts, hazardous waste materials, and discarded mine trailings strewn about, especially around one of the Seven Natural Wonders of the World. And, of course, let’s not forget the sacred tribal lands in the area. Gosar scoffed at the sacred label by derisively claiming “anything can be that way.” How rude! You can just imagine him saying under his breath that “sacred” doesn’t count for anything but his brand of national religion.
I imagine Gluttonous Gosar as Mr. Burns in The Simpsons while the congressman points out that the Grand Canyon area houses the “highest grade and largest quantity of uranium deposits in the United States.” And he also thinks stopping uranium mining near the Grand Canyon is a threat to national security. That’s certainly an interesting take. Another take? It’s a disaster waiting to happen.
Let’s chat a bit more about uranium mining. It’s not exactly what you’d call “eco-friendly.” We’re talking about a known history of water contamination, environmental degradation, and health risks for local communities. Oh, I almost forgot; uranium mining often requires significant amounts of water. Oh, lovely! Arizona already has a water shortage problem we’re struggling to solve. But, hey, let’s aggravate that situation even more, OK?
Now, there aren’t any of those nasty uranium mines inside the Grand Canyon National Park right now. But, and this is a big but, there are mines and mining claims hanging around just outside the park. These bad boys could dirty up the Grand Canyon’s springs, which are like a desert oasis of biodiversity.
The Colorado River, which is pretty much Arizona’s lifeline for water, flows right through the Grand Canyon area. Here’s the kicker: mining processes actually make uranium dissolve in water like sugar in tea. So put all this info together and you can understand how the push for uranium mining is insane…and a few other choice words.
Sadly, Gosar isn’t just some lone wolf howling at the radioactive moon. He’s got backing, like the Arizona Senate. The Arizona GOP is still gearing up to sue the Biden administration for its “Unconstitutional Land Grab.” I’m hopeful this misguided fight will never go anywhere, but who the hell knows? And gee golly, nothing screams “small government” like suing the federal government to exploit natural resources, am I right?
National Security or National Greed?
This isn’t just about state pride, uranium or even the Grand Canyon area. This is about a pattern, a Republican mindset where everything is up for grabs if the price is right. National parks, sacred sites, and environmental regulations are all just hurdles on the racetrack of exploitation.
Gosar claims Biden’s protective action is overkill; Arizona is already monument-heavy and doesn’t need any more. Excuse me, but is there some arbitrary national monument allocation per U.S. state we don’t know about? And who forgot to instruct Mother Nature to sprinkle the outdoorsy goodness more evenly to accommodate future geographical, political, and historical factors? Anyway, cultural significance is a mere footnote in the grand scheme of Gosar’s ghastly plans.
In a world where we’re facing climate change, biodiversity loss, and a myriad of environmental challenges, Gosar is another lord of land-leaching legacies. His legislative approach to conservation—if he even has a legitimate one—is tone-deaf, short-sighted, and resource-hungry. His overarching principle with respect to natural habitats is not just irresponsible; it’s downright disgusting.
Protect Our Legacy
Arizona is the Grand Canyon State, but our state’s nickname would be the most superficial of potential hits. I can’t begin to fathom the depth of cascading losses we’d experience if even a portion of our greatest claim to fame is damaged.
So, what can we do? Well, for starters, we can keep talking about it. Raise awareness. Make some noise. The Grand Canyon area isn’t just a pretty picture on a postcard; it’s a symbol of natural beauty, historical significance, and cultural reverence. This isn’t just an Arizona issue; it’s a national, even global, concern. This holds true for so many of our nation’s and world’s irreplaceable treasures.
So while Gosar and his greedy gang are busy plotting their next dumb move in the ridiculous game of “Uranium Monopoly,” let’s remind them that some things are worth more than what you can put in the bank. Nature has value that transcends monetization. And any damage would be so much more than a so-called “aesthetic injury.” Ultimately, the Grand Canyon area is a grand testament to what we should preserve, not plunder.
And that is my latest rant on the Wild, Wild West of American politics. Stay tuned, stay outraged, and, most importantly, stay engaged. Because if we don’t speak up for the irreplaceable beauty of Planet Earth, who the heck will?