President Trump’s Secretary of the Interior, Ryan Zinke, today released his list of National Monuments he intends to dismantle.
On the chopping block, more than 11 million acres of public lands in the American West. These lands include the Bears Ears National Monument in Utah, Canyons of the Ancients in Colorado, Grand Canyon-Parashant in Arizona, Gold Butte in Nevada, Craters of the Moon in Idaho, Giant Sequoia in California, and many more.
Make no mistake, this is a hit list. In spite of Zinke’s claims otherwise, the American public has made their voices heard loudly and clearly over the years as Presidents have designated deserving American natural and cultural treasures as National Monuments. Since their designations, Americans far and wide have continued to voice support for protection.
It’s not a surprise. These public lands are truly majestic and unmatched. They’re also major economic boosters. It’s no wonder that even the State of Utah, which is opposed to National Monuments, touts Monuments like the Grand Staircase-Escalante as “phenomenal” landscapes in an effort to drive tourism and generate revenue.
If anything is unprecedented, it’s Trump’s attack on these American treasures.
Zinke’s announcement today kicks off a process that will surely lead to the diminishment or dismantling of protections for all of these places. Trump himself called these National Monuments “abuses,” a pretty strong indicator of where this process is going to end up.
And while Zinke’s move is clearly being driven by the anti-public lands movement, this movement itself seems to be fueled largely by fossil fuel interests.
As we wrote earlier, the Bears Ears National Monument in particular is squarely in the crosshairs of fracking companies. Other Monuments, including Grand Staircase-Escalante (which has already experienced oil spills), Canyons of the Ancients (CO) (which has already been extensively developed by oil and gas companies), Upper Missouri River Breaks (MT), Grand Canyon-Parashant (AZ), Basin and Range (NV), and Carrizo Plain (CA) also all have potential for fracking.
Tellingly, oil and gas industry lobbyists have described National Monuments as “obstacles to development.”
Americans everywhere should be outraged by this assault on our public lands. Once stripped of protections, there’s no telling what the oil and gas industry will do to them.
That’s why now is the time for all of us to unite in defense of our National Monuments. You can take action today to protect the Bears Ears National Monument. And stay tuned for more as we step up to defend all of our National Monuments from this unprecedented assault on our national heritage. Below is Zinke’s hit list.
National Monuments in the American West Slated to be Dismantled or Diminished Under Trump
|Basin and Range||Nevada||2015||703,585|
|Berryessa Snow Mountain||California||2015||330,780|
|Canyons of the Ancients||Colorado||2000||175,160|
|Craters of the Moon||Idaho||1924/2000||737,525|
|Organ Mountains-Desert Peaks||New Mexico||2014||496,330|
|Rio Grande del Norte||New Mexico||2013||242,555|
|Sand to Snow||California||2016||154,000|
|San Gabriel Mountains||California||2014||346,177|
|Upper Missouri River Breaks||Montana||2001||377,346|