The Biden administration’s designation of over a million acres of land near the Grand Canyon as a national monument comes at a serious cost, according to a Utah rancher.

The new Baaj Nwaavjo I’tah Kukveni — Ancestral Footprints of the Grand Canyon National Monument not only threatens the ranching operation Chris Heaton’s family has run since the 19th century, but could harm the environment and lock up energy sources, he said.

Prominent Utah Republicans agree.

The environmental threat is contrary to one of the lofty goals Biden claims for the land grab — fighting climate change.

And it comes at great cost to Heaton, who ranches 40 miles north of the Grand Canyon. “We’ve been just devastated,” he told Fox News on Tuesday.

“We graze out here on the Arizona strip, which is the strip of land in Arizona that’s north of the Colorado River,” Heaton said. “We’ve been here since the late 1800s, my family have, and this monument really impacts us.

“They’re shoving it down our throats,” Heaton went on. “They’re telling us that we’re gonna like it, but they’re not telling us what it will do and how it will help or hurt us. There’s no management plan, there’s nothing in place.”

A minor bright spot for Heaton is that, unlike earlier rend itions, a map of the monument released Tuesday no longer showed 1,000 acres of his private property as part of the monument.


But it still represents a problem for him. “I have 40,000-plus acres of federal and state land that I lease from the federal [government] and the state of Arizona, and that is impacted,” Heaton said.

“And with that land, we own private water rights that are definitely affected and they’re not addressing how those private water rights will be affected by this monument,” he said.

“Out here on the Arizona strip, there’s no live water,” Heaton continued. “So all the wildlife — the mule deer and the antelope — and then all the livestock is watered by stock ponds and springs and wells that are owned and maintained by the ranchers.

“And if they push us off, little by little, which this monument most likely will do, they get rid of the water sources which then harms the environment, including the wildlife.”

Asked by Fox co-host Sean Duffy about the monument locking up access to uranium, Heaton said uranium mining in the area has been under a 10-year moratorium set to expire in another decade.

He described past mining operations as beneficial to ranchers. He called the miners “excellent neighbors” functioning as “another set of eyes” who helped with water issues, sick and stray cattle, and year-round maintenance of roads.

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