- Associated Press - Friday, February 13, 2015

FLAGSTAFF, Ariz. (AP) - Democrats in the state’s congressional delegation have renewed a push to create a national monument near the Grand Canyon.

Reps. Ann Kirkpatrick, Raul Grijalva (gree-HAHL’-vuh) and Ruben Gallego (gy-AY’-goh) say it would protect the region’s watershed and preserve large-diameter ponderosa pine trees.

President Barack Obama has authority under the Antiquities Act to designate national monuments without the approval of other local leaders, federal agencies or Congress.

The sparsely populated area just south of the Utah border is a mix of towering cliffs and canyons, grasslands, forest and desert that is popular with hunters, ranchers and hikers.

The proposed monument would lie between two other national monuments north of the Grand Canyon and include some forest land to the south.

Ranchers see the proposal as a way to lock up the land unnecessarily.

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