On Tuesday, according to administration officials, President Biden is set to announce the creation of a new national monument encompassing almost a million acres near the Grand Canyon. This move is aimed at protecting the region from uranium mining.
The Arizona visit by Mr. Biden is part of a broader White House effort to communicate key policy achievements to the electorate as the 2024 campaign season begins. Senior cabinet members also travel nationwide to promote his domestic program.
During the initial stage of his three-state tour, Mr. Biden will reveal the establishment of a national monument, the fifth of his tenure, sacred by Native American tribes, as confirmed by administration officials on Monday.
Mr. Biden’s national climate adviser, Ali Zaidi, clarified the administration’s stance by stating that mining would be prohibited for future development in the designated area, emphasizing preserving its historical resources.
Native American tribes and environmental organizations have repeatedly urged the government to shield the Grand Canyon’s vicinity from uranium mining permanently. They argue that such mining could harm the Colorado River watershed and areas of significant cultural importance to Native Americans.
Despite widespread skepticism regarding his domestic policy, Mr. Biden’s trip to Arizona also aims to galvanize vital voter groups in the state.
Last year, the President signed the Inflation Reduction Act, a significant piece of legislation aiming to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, which he described as “the largest investment ever in clean energy.” However, a Washington Post-University of Maryland poll indicates that 71 percent of Americans remain unaware of this package one year later.
Furthermore, 57 percent of Americans expressed dissatisfaction with the President’s handling of climate change in the poll. This discontent appears especially pronounced among young voters, who actively participated in the 2020 election.
Environmental groups were angered when Mr. Biden approved the Willow drilling project in Alaska’s untouched federal land and mandated the sale of offshore drilling leases, contradicting a campaign pledge.
The National Mining Association has criticized the monument designation as “unwarranted,” claiming it would cause the U.S. to depend on imported uranium from nations like Russia.
However, the administration has countered that the planned monument encompasses only 1.3 percent of the country’s identified uranium reserves.
Earlier in the year, President Biden established the Spirit Mountain national monument in Nevada, safeguarding half a million acres cherished by Native Americans. He also restored and broadened protections for Bears Ears National Monument and Grand Staircase-Escalante in Utah, areas sacred to Native Americans, which had been exposed to mining and drilling during the Trump administration.