Trump’s Sham Review Undermines Fundamental Integrity of Public Lands Protection

By August 28, 2017Lands Protection
Commons photo of Indian Creek in Bears Ears National Monument

Last week, along with millions of other Americans, we anxiously awaited Secretary of Interior Ryan Zinke’s recommendation on the fate of over 2 dozen National Monuments. Although his recommendation reportedly made it to President Trump’s desk, the proposed future for some of our nation’s most treasured landscapes remains shielded from the public. Secretary Zinke assured us, however, that he doesn’t wish to outright eliminate any monuments. Phew!

Not really. He still wants to drastically reduce the footprint of a ‘handful.’ Anonymous sources have revealed Secretary Zinke is recommending significant reductions in the size of at least three National Monuments: Bears Ears, Grand Staircase-Esclante and Cascade-Siskiyou.

This isn’t an entirely surprising ending to what has been a sham of a review process from the beginning. First, there never should have been a review. Our National Monuments have been promised to the American people to be protected in perpetuity. Second, over 99% of public (i.e. public land owners) comments opposed any such review. Yet, as we expected, the result seems to counter what the American public wants and has been promised. The fight to protect our public lands for future generations, therefore continues. We’ll keep tracking it and let you know what you can do to help.

You can see our Press Release in full below.

 


For Immediate Release: August 28, 2017

Trump’s Sham Review Undermines Fundamental Integrity of Public Lands Protection

Secretary of the Interior’s Secretly Recommends shrinking at least 3 National Monuments

 

Durango, CO – Secretary Zinke failed to make public his review of national monuments last week, which according to insiders ignored the vast majority of public comments in recommending to shrink at least Bears Ears, Grand Staircase-Escalante , Cascade-Siskiyou National Monuments. It is another startling reminder how extreme and out of touch the Trump Administration is with basic American values around public lands protection. For more than 100 years, no president – Republican or Democrat – has ever undertaken this type of sweeping assault on America’s public land heritage.

Zinke’s review was a sham exercise that lacked any meaningful public involvement or, for the majority of monuments, even a site visit by the Secretary. While here in southwest Colorado we are grateful that Canyons of the Ancients escaped Zinke’s axe, let’s not forget that an attack on one National Monument is an attack on the fundamental integrity of all of our National Monuments. The public anticipated that remarkable public resources designated as National Monuments would have protection in perpetuity under the Antiquities Act. Now, Zinke and Trump have launched an unnecessary and divisive fight over the future of these cherished lands.

It is not simply a majority of Americans who oppose the administrations’ unprecedented attack on our public lands. According to an analysis of 1.3 million public comments, over 99% opposed changes to our national monuments. In comments mentioning Bears Ears, Grand Staircase-Escalante and Cascade Siskiyou National Monuments, the percentage opposing the review were 95.6%, 95.3% and 87% respectively.

Colorado’s congressional delegation unanimously spoke out in support of Canyons of the Ancients. We are particularly grateful to Senator Bennet, who additionally defended the Antiquities Act itself, which the administration appears also to have in its crosshairs.

We will continue to stand up for our public lands and vehemently defend against threats to them here in the Four Corners and across the country. Regardless of where one lives, it is imperative these revered landscapes be protected in perpetuity. We will join the vast majority of Americans in fighting for them.

Media Contact: Mark Pearson, [email protected] (970) 259-3583

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