For Immediate Release, December 6, 2013
Contact: Robin Silver, Center for Biological Diversity, (602) 799-3275
Legal Action Taken Against FAA, State of Arizona to Halt Airport Development That Will Hurt Grand Canyon
FLAGSTAFF, Ariz.— The Center for Biological Diversity has filed a cease and desist notice with the Federal Aviation Administration and state of Arizona’s Department of Transportation to stop the illegal spending of tens of millions of federal dollars on expanding a local airport harmful to the Grand Canyon.
Federal environmental and cultural laws require comprehensive studies before committing federal money to such activities. Yet the state’s transportation department is using FAA money, without doing these studies, to expand its Grand Canyon National Park Airport, despite the fact that there is not enough fresh water to support the expansion and associated development planned near the Grand Canyon.
The airport is located in Tusayan, just south of the Grand Canyon. All water in the area comes from groundwater pumped from the same underground aquifer that supplies water to Indian Gardens, on the popular Bright Angel Trail in Grand Canyon National Park, as well as to the world-renowned Havasupai Falls on the nearby Havasupai reservation. Visitors from around the world come to see the famous blue-green waterfalls, sacred to the Havasupai tribe. Any more groundwater pumping for airport expansion and related new development risks drying up the falls and Indian Gardens.
“We have laws to protect special places like the Grand Canyon. Surely the Federal Aviation Administration and state of Arizona don’t want to see these world-famous treasures destroyed,” said the Center’s Dr. Robin Silver.
Grand Canyon National Park opposes the airport expansion and related massive new local development because they will threaten the park’s water and further overburden the park’s already failing infrastructure.
The Center plans to initiate legal proceedings if the agencies insist on continuing to put the Grand Canyon at risk.
The Center for Biological Diversity is a national, nonprofit conservation organization with more than 625,000 members and online activists dedicated to the protection of endangered species and wild places.