Grand Canyon Ranch Granted Injunction From United States District Court
PHOENIX, AZ--(Marketwired - Sep 28, 2013) - On September 26, Grand Canyon Ranch obtained an injunction from the United States District Court in Phoenix, Arizona that will compel the United States Government to honor its obligations under a settlement agreement it entered into in 2007. For months, Grand Canyon Ranch has been attempting to get the Government to simply live up to its commitments. This culminated in a two day injunction hearing, following which Federal Court Judge Neil Wake granted Grand Canyon Ranch's request for an injunction. This injunction will not block the public from accessing Grand Canyon Ranch, or the Skywalk on the Haulapai Reservation, nor will it prevent some continued construction work on the road. It does prohibit, however, the Government from ignoring its obligations to include the amenities that were agreed to back in 2007 to protect the Ranch.
Nigel Turner, the owner of Grand Canyon Ranch, stated, "I am very pleased and relieved Judge Wake made this decision. At last we had our day in court where the truth was said, this time under oath rather than all the many previous false statements that have deceived the world." He further stated, "Until yesterday Grand Canyon Ranch and myself were made out to be the 'villains' when in fact we were the victims. All I ever asked for is that the contract signed in 2007 was honored and built in a professional manner to do the least damage to this beautiful and historic area of the Grand Canyon Plateau." He further stated, "I really appreciate Judge Wake taking the time out of his very busy schedule to listen carefully to two days of testimony and even keeping his court open late to ensure his decisions were fair. I hope the firm decisions by Judge Wake and my own passion on this matter will now preserve this area for our children's children and make more people aware in the future how delicate the mountains of Arizona are."
The matter began over ten years ago when the Government sought to improve Diamond Bar Road, which cuts through the Ranch's property. The Ranch is one of most historic properties on the rim of the Grand Canyon with a long and storied past. It contains numerous archeological and natural resources. The Ranch is also visited by over 120,000 mainly international visitors a year. Grand Canyon Ranch has long fought to make sure that this road project did not destroy the beauty of the area, or the Ranch's operations. This began with a lawsuit against the Government in 2003. That lawsuit was settled in 2007 when the Government agreed to very specific requirements for building the road and to provide certain features to protect the Ranch. Most important was an obligation that all construction and mitigation activities would be pursuant to a Federal Environmental Impact Study.
After the Government entered into this agreement with the Ranch, it later signed a contract with Haulapai Tribe to perform the construction. The Tribe, in turn, hired a contractor to build the road. However, the Tribe was never instructed to comply with the 2007 settlement agreement and the Contractor was never even given a copy of the Environmental Impact Study. Virtually none of the agreements that the Government had made were being implemented. The Contractor asserted that it was only required to do what was in its contract with the Tribe and the Government said that it was the Tribe's responsibility. As such, the Ranch was forced to go to Court to enforce its rights.
The Court made it clear in its ruling that the Government could not hide behind the Tribe, and that it was the Government's responsibility to ensure that its agreements with the Ranch were met. It issued an injunction preventing the Government from completing the project until it was done correctly. The Judge set a further hearing for October 27 to consider whether the Government was meeting its obligations under the 2007 settlement agreement.
Even those that are not directly involved in Arizona with Joshua tree forests, historic remains or the Grand Canyon Plateau should be aware tourism is one of the largest revenue generators in Arizona. Millions of international guests actually care more about visiting the Grand Canyon than Las Vegas.