Billionaire Koch brothers, Arizona politicians, and other organizations want to destroy the Grand Canyon National Heritage Monument proposal, according to recent reports.
The proposed monument would grant federal protection to 1.7 million acres of Grand Canyon land and permanently ban uranium mining in the area. The Grand Canyon is 277 miles long and has an average depth of one mile; its land has been protected from mining since President Teddy Roosevelt’s Antiquities Act in 1908.
According to the Phoenix New Times, the proposal has tremendous support from environmental organizations, native tribes, and more than 80% of the public. But all those groups together don’t even come close to the amount of money being used to fight the monument.
Dark-money organizations, which are organizations that can raise an unlimited amount of money from undisclosed donors, are working with the Koch brothers to fight this monument so they can begin uranium mining. Climate Progress reports that the effort is being run through Prosper Inc. and its sister organization, Prosper Foundation Inc.
Greg Zimmerman of the Center for Western Priorities happened upon reports detailing the efforts of these billionaires and politicians fighting against the Grand Canyon monument.
Arizona Congressman Paul Gosar continues to reference the movement being “unpopular” with Arizona citizens, despite 80% supporting it. Gosar called the proposal “a conspiracy put forth by radical environmentalists to lock up 1.7 million acres of land and kill local business.”
Zimmerman is confused by the Arizona political establishment fighting the monument despite the overwhelming majority of Arizona people supporting it. Politicians going against their constituents baffled him, he says, “until I realized the connections between the political establishment and billionaire industrialists. Then it starts to make sense…
“There is a tight-knit community among right-wing Republican leaders who are strongly opposed to public-land protection,” Zimmerman continues. “What these guys do to move money is incredibly sophisticated.”