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There are two things you should know about Arizona teabagger Rep. Paul Gosar: He is a dentist who somehow made it into Congress, and he's one of the reasons we Can't Have Nice Things. Gosar is fighting a proposal to declare a new national monument on land surrounding Grand Canyon National Park, which would protect 1.7 million acres of land from uranium mining. Not that he'd ever be so crass as to say he's in favor of adding runoff from uranium mines to the Colorado River watershed, of course not. But just think how pretty the Canyon could be if it glowed at night!

Instead, Gosar is framing the proposed monument as a "Government Land Grab," and has scheduled a "listening session" Monday in Kingman, Arizona, so that he and the public can listen to "testimony from more than 20 Arizona witnesses" about the supposed perils of protecting land around the Grand Canyon. The handpicked witnesses will represent a broad range of ordinary Arizonans, including a whole lot of ordinary representatives of ordinary mining companies and ordinary anti-federal-anything groups. Our favorite is the "American Clean Energy Resources Trust," which might sound like it's about windmills and solar, but represents uranium mining interests. There'll even be TWO representatives of anti-monument activist group "Arizona Liberty," a group of "STRONG supporters of the Constitution of the United States of America AS WRITTEN," and if that doesn't sound patriotic and just a little bit loony, we don't know what does.

The potential monument, which would be called the "Greater Grand Canyon Heritage National Monument," was proposed by Tucson congressman Raúl Grijalva late last year, and has the backing of leaders of the Havasupai, Hualapai, Navajo, and Hopi tribes, who joined Grijalva for a press event when he announced the bill. Native American tribes and environmentalists have been fighting attempts to mine uranium near the Grand Canyon for decades, and Grijalva's bill is an attempt to permanently protect the area.

Sierra Club

Unfortunately, there's also a lot of money to be made from digging uranium out of the area around the Grand Canyon -- the park itself is protected of course, but existing and proposed mines still pose a threat, said Grijalva:

"Mining so close to the Canyon could seriously impair the region’s ecosystems: wreaking havoc on the landscape, drying up critical seeps and springs, disturbing fish and wildlife, and releasing toxic chemicals into the environment," he wrote in a letter to former U.S. Interior Secretary Ken Salazar about the practice.

"With mining claims positioned so close to the Canyon and the Colorado River, a range of contaminants from heavy metals to uranium could also degrade the downstream water supply, impacting a water supply relied on by millions of Americans. Not to mention the fact that uranium mining produces permanent radioactive waste, an environmental toxin which must be disposed of in an urgent, safe manner."

Grijalva's bill doesn't have much chance of passing the Republican-controlled House, but there's another way for national monuments to come into existence: the Antiquities Act of 1906 gives the president the power to simply declare an area a national monument, and has been used by presidents from Teddy Roosevelt to Barack Obama to protect sensitive lands. Last year, Gosar launched his own bill, an unsuccessful attempt to prohibit any national monument for the Grand Canyon watershed.

Naturally, the threat that Barack Obama might go mad with power is part of Gosar's schtick in fighting against the Grand Canyon National Heritage Monument: It's another of those darned federal land grabs opposed not only by mining companies, but also by welfare ranchers and militia loons, so Gosar's announcement of Monday's "listening session" leans heavily on the "federal overreach" rhetoric:

Just look right there, you can see Obama wants to take our land and probably give it to Mexico while he's at it! All Gosar wants is to keep the public involved in the land management process, and by "public," he means the mining industry, which is, after all, you and me. If you're in the mood for hearing some Authentic Anti-Government gibberish, the listening session will be livestreamed on Rep. Gosar's Facebook page starting at 10:00 a.m. Eastern; you may want to wear a lead apron just in case.

[Phoenix New Times / Rep. Paul Gosar DDS / Phoenix New Times]

Doktor Zoom

Doktor Zoom's real name is Marty Kelley, and he lives in the wilds of Boise, Idaho. He is not a medical doctor, but does have a real PhD in Rhetoric. You should definitely donate some money to this little mommyblog where he has finally found acceptance and cat pictures. He is on maternity leave until 2033. Here is his Twitter, also. His quest to avoid prolixity is not going so great.

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