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Biden to designate land surrounding Grand Canyon as national monument

President Joe Biden is touring the Southwest as the White House attempts to explain and highlight the impact of his economic agenda.
President Biden to highlight climate and clean energy investments
Posted at 5:00 AM, Aug 08, 2023

President Joe Biden is kicking off a Southwest tour Tuesday as he highlights climate and clean energy investments from the Inflation Reduction Act ahead of its one-year anniversary. 

While on his trip in Arizona, President Biden will announce a $44 million investment from the legislation in the National Park System, and designate Baaj Nwaavjo I’tah Kukveni a national monument. The name describes the "ancestral footprints" surrounding the Grand Canyon region. 

The move comes after tribes have been calling for the president to mark their ancestral homelands in the area, and protects about 1 million acres of lands around the park.

"President Biden is helping address injustices of the past. He is ensuring that the Grand Canyon and iconic American treasure will stay pristine for future generations," said White House Council on Environmental Quality Chair Brenda Mallory. 

This marks the fifth national monument President Biden has designated and comes amid his goal to conserve 30% of U.S. land and water by 2030.  

"This president and this administration see Indian country. I'm speaking to you as the first Native American cabinet secretary as a testament to that," said Secretary of the Interior Deb Haaland.   

SEE MORE: The EPA pushes electric cars, but they won't be a majority for years

Officials say while the action will not allow new mining claims, it will protect valid existing mining claims, noting it represents 1.3% of known uranium reserves.  

President Biden is expected to highlight clean energy and manufacturing investments from the legislation while participating in a groundbreaking in New Mexico.  

In Utah Thursday, as the administration marks one year since the PACT Act’s signing, President Biden will visit a Department of Veterans Affairs health facility.  

The trip continues as the White House aims to explain and highlight the impact of President Biden's economic agenda as he prioritizes the economy and leans into the "Bidenomics" branding.  

Throughout the week, the vice president and cabinet members will travel the country to highlight investments in energy, climate and infrastructure in roundtable discussions, groundbreakings and remarks. For example, Vice President Kamala Harris and Acting Labor Secretary Julie Su are highlighting job creation in Philadelphia; Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm is attending groundbreakings in Ohio and Missouri; and EPA Administrator Michael Regan will showcase clean water investments in Wyoming.  

SEE MORE: Harris helps push 'Bidenomics' as president's approval rating lingers

While Republicans criticize "Bidenomics" and look to hold the president responsible for higher prices, the White House has given a more optimistic view of the economy as “resilient,” pointing to data markers like the unemployment rate, wage growth and inflation coming down, while acknowledging there's more work to do.   

But as President Biden leans into the economy, gaps persist in the public’s view of how he's handling it. Recent polls show greater disapproval ratings and challenges when it comes to his handling of the economy. A Reuters/Ipsos poll found less than half (46%) of respondents were familiar with the Inflation Reduction Act, and 56% felt the administration hasn't done enough to invest in the American economy.

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