Trump Administration Signs Proclamations To Reduce Utah National Monuments

Grand Staircase Escalante National Monument

President Trump signed proclamations on December 4 to reduce the boundaries of two national monuments in Utah. The two monuments, Bears Ears National Monument (BENM) and Grand Staircase Escalante National Monument (GSENM), will be reduced by 85 percent and 50 percent, respectively.

The decision follows a four-month review of 27 national monuments designated in the last 20 years. Nearly three million people commented on the monuments review, and 99 percent of them opposed reducing the boundaries.

Environmental groups are against reducing the boundaries of the monuments. Ben Schreiber, Senior Political Strategist at Friends of the Earth, said in a statement, “Donald Trump and Ryan Zinke want to steal Americans’ lands and give them to Big Oil and other corporate polluters.” He described the proclamations as the “ largest elimination of protected areas in U.S. history.”

“The gravity of Trump and Zinke’s decisions to strip our public lands of protections is hard to overestimate,” said Sierra Club Executive Director Michael Brune:

“We’re witnessing an attack on our public lands at a scale never before seen in the entire history of our country.”

“The president’s actions are unprecedented in scale and will substantially undermine the protection of two of America’s most significant natural landmarks,” said Mark R. Tercek, The Nature Conservancy’s president and CEO. “We are deeply disappointed that the Administration created an incomprehensible patchwork of land management jurisdictions. Shrinking these national monuments is the wrong direction for our country.”

Outdoor gear and clothing companies oppose reducing the Utah monuments

Outdoor gear and clothing companies are making their voices heard about Trump’s reduction of the two Utah monuments. Patagonia’s home page is in black and declares in white print, “The President Stole Your Land.” The company declares that the reduction is “the largest elimination of protected land in American history.” Patagonia asks people to tweet to the Trump administration and tell them that they lack the authority to change the boundaries of the monuments in Utah. Company founder, Yvon Chouinard told CNN he would sue the Trump administration. Environmental groups and Native American tribes have already filed lawsuits.

REI proclaims in a blog post that “this is the largest rollback of protected lands in American history.” The company assures its customers that it “will honor our shared passion for our public lands, dedicating time and resources to leaving them healthier for future generations.”

North Face has a link on their homepage to a Kickstarter campaign to establish a Bears Ears Education Center. The campaign reached its $100,000 goal and decided to stretch it to $185,000 in light of Trump’s proclamations. The money raised by the campaign will be used to buy a former bar in Bluff, UT and transform it into the Center.

ARC’TERYX donated the proceeds of its U.S. E-commerce Sales from November 28th Giving Tuesday Initiative to The Conservation Alliance. The environmental group will make grants from its Public Lands Defense Fund to support litigation challenging the President’s authority to reduce the monuments.

Jon Hoerauf, Arc’teryx General Manager and President said that the company is “investing in protecting America’s Public lands and amplifying the message that calls for state and national leaders to be held accountable for protecting these irreplaceable cultural and natural landscapes for future generations to enjoy,”

Image credit: Wikimedia Commons 

Gina-Marie Cheeseman
Gina-Marie Cheeseman
Gina-Marie Cheeseman, freelance writer/journalist/copyeditor Twitter: @gmcheeseman

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