Originally published Tuesday, May 7, 2019 at 11:40a.m.

To the community:

The Tusayan Town Council has directed this letter to present the true facts of a recent misinterpretation of the town’s position concerning an existing moratorium on mining in this region, as well as federal overreach into existing public and private lands.

In late February, Congressmen Raul Grijalva (southern Arizona) called a press conference at Grand Canyon National Park to introduce House Bill 1373, titled “Grand Canyon Centennial Protection Act”. The reported purpose of the bill is to create a permanent uranium mining ban, rather than the current 20-year moratorium. The day before, I was contacted by the House of Representative’s Western Caucus, chaired by Arizona Congressman Paul Gosar and asked for a quote in response to the anticipated “Land Grab” language of the new bill. In 2016, Congressman Grijalva proposed a similar bill which adds 1+ million acres into various federal restrictions. Tusayan would be swallowed up into the monument but had not even been approached or included in any discussion concerning the monument. The 2016 bill failed. Tusayan continues to oppose the monument, referred to by opponents as a “land grab”. I provided a one sentence statement to the Western Caucus, taken directly from my testimony at a Congressional listening session on April 11, 2016, as follows:

“Tusayan believes this is federal overreach to appease special interest groups who do not represent the views of the many life-long residents who cherish and manage the Grand Canyon.”

My quote was used in a Western Caucus press release issued the afternoon before H.R. 1373 was presented in the press conference.

Shortly thereafter, an employee of the Sierra Club, interpreted my quote as a reversal of Tusayan’s official position supporting the existing mining moratorium. Rather than contact me about the town’s role, members of the public were asked to seek answers to the perceived reversal of the town’s position.

Councilmember Baldosky was made aware and emailed me asking to explain the context and purpose of the quote. The issue was placed as an agenda action item for the March 20, 2019 town council meeting where Councilmember Baldosky initiated the discussion. Upon conclusion of the discussion it was clear to everyone the town continues support of the existing moratorium.

However, the town council opposed language in the new bill which could allow establishment of the previously attempted monument. The Sierra Club even agreed the language needed further definition. On council direction, I contacted staff of both Congressmen Grijalva (southern Arizona district) and Congressman O’Halleran (our district) to work through the language concern.

I encourage anyone who has questions, concerns, interpretations or issues with statements made by the town to contact me directly, rather than assume a conclusion. I can be reached at (928) 638-9909 (office); (928) 637-4297 (cell); tusayantownmanager@gmail or P.O. Box 709 or 845 Mustang Drive, Tusayan, Arizona 86023.

Eric Duthie

Tusayan Town Manager

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