Keep Sedona Beautiful, Inc., a non-profit environmental group, is working with the Sierra Club to land lock our city and surrounding areas inside a national monument! As a private property owner and citizen of the State of Arizona, I am vehemently opposed to the creation of a national monument in or around Sedona, Arizona. A national monument would turn all of us into inholders inside the second most restrictive designation and according to the Inholders Rule, case law deriving from the Property Clause of the US Constitution in the last twenty years, public policy and past experience of inholders and outholders in national parks, national monuments, national scenic areas and national heritage areas, private property owners and citizens in this area would all suffer and lose. Eminent domain would a very real threat to Sedona and the surrounding area!
I have read the Congressional record of the travesty that the National Scenic Area in Columbia River Gorge became. Anyone in my area who is for land locking our city and towns inside a national monument is ignorant of the facts and has been lied to. Most pro-monument people believe that a national monument will stop development when in fact development is occurring on private property on highway 89A and said development has nothing to do with a national monument, we were also told by Tom O'Halleran (who is running for Congress) that a national monument would help us deal with traffic problems! A national monument cannot stop traffic problems.
Our private property rights, senior water rights, access to the land, the ability to walk our dogs, the right to walk from our homes into the forest, threat of eminent domain, threat of a Commission that is a public private partnership gaining control over our private property, are just some of the issues we would face. Members of the private Commission who is given the authority to manage our private property get salaries between $1,000,000. and $3,000,000 dollars per year!
NO CITY OR TOWN HAS EVER BEEN LAND LOCKED INSIDE A NATIONAL MONUMENT! The needs of a busy city are incongruent with the restrictions of a national monument. Some people who study the economic impact of monuments on an area have stated that, "land locking a monument is not legal;" no one is sure as it has never been done. Water, sewer, power, roads, insecticides, herbicides, firefighting all become a point of contention and may be banned or require EIS and NEPA studies costing millions of dollars! We will be forced to pay for those studies, even on private land, Keep Sedona Beautiful, Inc., will not pay our bills. No new utilities or roads are ever allowed in a national monument; repairs can require NEPA studies. WE PAY FOR NEPA STUDIES AS INHOLDERS! The President is not required to do the NEPA studies that Congress would do if they declared a national monument, leaving the local citizens left footing the bill.
Keep Sedona Beautiful, Inc. and Tom O'Halleran claim, "the USFS cannot do their job sufficiently (protect the land) without being a national monument." They also claim, "our trails need more maintenance," despite the fact that we have an amazing and well maintained trail system; note: a national monument will not provide more federal money to our area. The Red Rock Ranger District has steadily been addressing recreation and land protection despite the federal budget cutbacks in recent years and is releasing the new management land soon, and that plan includes permanent protection for this area. Keep Sedona Beautiful, Inc. claims that our area is available for land trades and mining, this is another lie that they use to get people who are ignorant to sign their petition for a national monument. Members of the Coalition that KSB created to try to keep their 501(c)3 status do not know what case law is. When they were shown case law and it was explained to them, their response was, "see only a few cases happened in all these years!"
These are the ignoramuses begging to be land locked in a national monument.
In a national monument our ranchers would lose access to graze cattle as they cannot comply with the new NEPA requirements, despite the Proclamations being written grandfathering existing ranchers in. Cattle keep our grass short to prevent wildfires and supply jobs and food. Why should ranchers who have been here for generations be forced out and lose their family businesses? Who does that serve? Except to take away one more local food producer and force us to buy from large factory farms?
Please work to further the Gosar Hardy Amendment along with a Senate version and any other available means you have to stop a national monument here. Turning our area into a national monument would be impractical and abusive.