Lake Havasu City, AZ – Supervisor Buster Johnson submitted written testimony today to the U.S. Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources in support of S. 437, the Improved National Monument Designation Process Act, and S. 1416, a bill designed to limit the authority to reserve water rights in designating a national monument. “I want to thank Senator Jeff Flake for introducing S. 1416 and both Senator Flake and John McCain for co-sponsoring S. 437,” Supervisor Buster Johnson stated. “Both pieces of legislation are crucial for Arizona and Mohave County residents by giving local government input and control when it comes to monument designations,” Johnson continued.
S.437 would require input from Congress, state and local governments before a presidentially created monument can be approved. “With the President proposing to take executive action to designate nearly 1.7 million acres of land in northern Arizona as the Grand Canyon Watershed National Monument, this legislation is greatly needed,” Johnson stated during testimony. “Should the President go ahead with the executive action, it would be devastating for the future growth of Arizona and have a long lasting effect on Mohave County,” Johnson continued.
Johnson also advocated for support of S.1416. “Water is becoming a scarce resource in Arizona. As it stands right now, if the President were to move forward with this proposed monument, it could have the potential to ‘federalize’ the area’s watershed and uproot critical water rights in Arizona and Mohave County,” Johnson explained. “This legislation would protect Arizona’s water by prohibiting the president from conducting water grabs by creating a new federally reserved right with a national monument,” Johnson said.
Nearly 50% of Arizona is now being owned by the federal government and nearly 90% of Mohave County. There are currently 18 monuments in Arizona which is more than any other state has. “Designating land for a new monument will take away even more land in the Arizona Strip area putting it in the hands of the federal government and away from the taxpaying citizens of this state,” Johnson stated.
According to Johnson, the 2000 Presidential designation of the Grand Canyon-Parashant National Monument has not added to the beauty or economy of Arizona. “The only thing it has done has placed “keep out signs” on the land barring our citizens from making a living or enjoying the land,” Johnson said. “Protecting our lands can be enhanced with current mining operations and off roaders who want to preserve our lands for future generations to experience. Working together will protect the land far better than no trespassing signs,” Johnson continued.
The Energy and Natural Resource Committee is looking for local input from business and organizations. If anyone is interested in submitting their input for the record, they can send comments to Supervisor Johnson’s office by emailing his Administrative Assistant, Sarah Hall, at firstname.lastname@example.org. Those comments will then be forwarded to the committee. The deadline to submit input is October 6th.
To read the text of the bills, S. 1426 can be read here: https://www.congress.gov/bill/114th-congress/senate-bill/1416
S. 437 can be read here: https://www.congress.gov/bill/114th-congress/senate-bill/437