What’s going on with our national monuments?
Last week while Trump was visiting Salt Lake City, he announced two proclamations to dramatically reduce Bears Ears and Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monuments and replace them with fragmented and significantly smaller monuments. Many legal experts have questioned the legality of such a maneuver, which will be tested in the courts after a coalition of tribal nations and Patagonia immediately filed lawsuits.
Since Trump’s visit to Utah, it has come to light that some of the loudest voices pushing for the repeal or reduction of our monuments came through concerted lobbying efforts by mining and extraction companies, highlighting the problem that the lands within the original monuments are no longer protected from significant potential for mining and energy development.
Utahns from across the state rallied by the thousands to protest the proclamations before Trump’s arrival and again on the day of his visit, highlighting the overwhelming public outcry in Utah and across the nation over this act.
In the meantime, Utah’s Rep. Chris Stewart announced a new and urgent threat to our monuments via his new bill proposing the creation of a national park out of a small parcel of land captured within the shrunken Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument. Passage of this bill would make permanent Trump’s repeal of the larger original monument by rendering all lawsuits challenging his presidential proclamation moot. For national monument supporters, this situation is extremely serious, which is why protesters will gather once again on Tuesday at the Capitol for a press conference highlighting the critical issues within the national park proposal.
Protest of Rep. Stewart’s Bill to Ratify Grand Staircase Repeal – TOMORROW, Dec 12 at noon, SOUTH steps of the Utah State Capitol, SLC. Press conference opposing Rep. Stewart’s Orwellian “Grand Staircase-Escalante Enhancement Act,’ which would make permanent Trump’s repeal of the Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument by rendering all lawsuits filed in challenge to Trump’s action moot. Help show Washington that Utahns oppose the proposal to create a national park in Grand Staircase to ratify the monument repeal before the bill is heard on Thursday in a House Natural Resources Committee hearing.
AU’s Annual Legislative Preview – Wed, January 24th, 7:00-8:30p, Marmalade Branch Library in Salt Lake. Save the date for an evening with legislators learning about some of the great bills coming up during the State Legislative Session starting January 22 that need community support. Action Utah will also cover some community lobbying tips and skills to help you make an impact on policy decisions at the state level.
1. Stand up for Utah’s public lands. 114 million Americans recreate in our public lands, making public lands one of the greatest uniting forces — from coast to coast and across party lines. Last week’s presidential proclamations to reduce Bears Ears and Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monuments were deeply unpopular across the nation and also right here in Utah and among locals in San Juan and Garfield Counties. Let the country know that a majority of Utahns want our national monuments back.
- Amplify key voices by sharing the videos and op-eds below far and wide via social media.
- Tweet about the importance of national monument protections to @POTUS and your Members of Congress.
- Support efforts to reverse and minimize the harmful impacts of the monument reduction in Bears Ears. Support the Utah Dine Bikeyah in their lawsuit against the presidential proclamation to reduce Bears Ears. Support the Bears Ears Education Center. Support the Native American Rights Fund.
– Newsweek op-ed by the great great grandsons of Teddy Roosevelt and John Muir, “Despoiling our National Parks Betrays Our Democracy”
– Outside op-ed by former tribal leader Regina Lopez-Whiteskunk, “Zinke Betrayed the Tribal Nations”
– Salt Lake Tribune op-ed by Tribal leaders Carleton Bowekaty and Davis Filfred, “Trump’s action to cut Bears Ears is a historic injustice”
- Vet Voice video by Garett Reppenhagen, an Iraq War Veteran who says, “the Trump Administration’s proposed actions to reduce and modify many national monuments is an affront to millions of veterans who served our country and cherish our lands.”
– Vet Voice video by Ret. Army Major General Paul Eaton who says that his experience overseas has shown him how important it is to protect our public lands at home and that Trump’s reduction to Utah’s Bears Ears and Grand Staircase National Monuments attacks the premise of Teddy Roosevelt’s Antiquities Act.
2. Oppose Rep. Chris Stewart’s national park bill, the “Grand Staircase-Escalante Enhancement Act”, which would finalize the 48% reduction of Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument by rendering lawsuits challenging the act as moot, open critical lands and the scientific treasures within the original monument to threats from mineral leasing, mining and more, transfer federal public lands to the state, give management of the national park to local county officials even though the land belongs to all Americans and distract from the harmful impacts of all of the above. Rep. Stewart’s bill will be heard in the House Natural Resources Committee on Thursday. Utah’s Rep. Bishop is the Chairman.
- Attend the Protest of Rep. Stewart’s Bill to Ratify Grand Staircase Repeal on Tuesday, December 12th at noon. This peaceful protest and press conference is intended to highlight the true impacts of the national park proposal. Show your support by showing up in large numbers.
- Spread the word about the event by sharing the details on social media
3. Show your support for the Souther Utah Climate Discussion last week. Utah’s temperatures are warming twice as fast as temperatures around the country — a problem for one of the driest states in the nation. With a majority of Utahns believing in climate change, conversations about climate solutions must be normalized and regular. That’s why the science departments and Sustainability Club at Dixie State University held multiple conversations and invited tough questions about climate change and climate science last week from community members, students and federal, state and local elected officials.
- Follow up the event with a letter to the editor commending those elected officials who attended for responding to the concerns of a majority of Utah voters, doing the important work of learning about global warming and climate science and for understanding the need to normalize discussions like these. Find talking points here. Find tips on How To Write an Effective Letter To the Editor here.
- Email your state legislators and ask them to support the normalization of conversations about climate solutions. Find out who represents you and how to contact them here.
- Email thanks to Rep. Lowry Snow (R-St. George) and Rep. Brad Last (R-Hurricane) for helping to organize and build up attendance at last week’s events.
1. Push for CHIP to get funded in 2018. 9 million children across the country rely on the bipartisan Children’s Health Insurance Program to get basic and critical health care, including nearly 20,000 Utah children. Utah will run out of funding for CHIP by the end of January. Although Sen. Hatch originally created this program in 1997, Congress has failed to ensure the program’s renewal.
- Call on our two senators and your U.S. representative to reauthorize CHIP funding.
- Ask Governor Herbert what he is doing to prevent the loss of funding for children in Utah.
Sen. Orrin Hatch (202) 224-5251 (DC) // (801) 524-4380 (SLC) // (801) 375-7881 (Provo) // (435) 634-1795 (St. George) // (801) 625-5672 (Ogden) // (435) 586-8435 (Cedar City)
Sen. Mike Lee 202-224-5444 (DC) // 801-524-5933 (SLC) // 435-628-5514 (St. George) // 801-392-9633 (Ogden)
Rep. Rob Bishop (Congressional District 1): 202-225-0453 (DC) // 801-625-0107 (Ogden)
Rep. Chris Stewart (Congressional District 2): 202-225-9730 (DC) // 801-364-5550 (SLC) // 435-627-1500 (St. George)
Rep. John Curtis (Congressional District 3): (202) 225-7751 (DC) // (801) 851-2500 (Provo)
Rep. Mia Love (Congressional District 4): (202) 225-3011 (DC) // 801-996-8729 (West Jordan)
Not sure who your U.S. Representative is? Check here.
2. Last chance to write a comment to the EPA on the Clean Power Plan – In March Trump filed an executive order asking the EPA to roll back the Clean Power Plan. In October, EPA administrator Scott Pruitt announced that the start of the repeal process, including a public comment period that ends on December 15th. The Clean Power Plan is supported by a majority of American businesses, who do not believe the plan would negatively impact economic or job numbers nor that repealing it would necessarily bring back coal jobs. The EPA’s own fact sheet about how the Clean Power Plan shows how it would dramatically reduce air pollution responsible for causing significant illnesses, disease and premature deaths across America and Utah. Clean air is a top priority for a large majority of Utahns. It is critical for Utahns to participate in the comment period and speak up for this valuable rule and for clean air in Utah and across the country.
- Submit a comment to the EPA today under Docket #EPA-HQ-OAR-2017-0355. You can submit a comment by clicking https://www.regulations.gov and following the instructions for submitting comments to EPA-HQ-OAR-2017-0355 or by emailing your comment to a-and-r-Docket@epa.gov. Be sure to include Docket ID No. EPA-HQ-OAR-2017-0355 in the subject line of the message. Comments must be received on or before December 15, 2017.
Last push before the holidays!
The holidays are nearly here, bringing with them a chance to take a break and relax without worry about supporting good policy decisions or opposing bad ones for at least a few days. But there is still plenty to do before the holidays hit. Don’t let your civic engagement fall by the wayside. Action Utah is here to help you take easy but meaningful actions leading up to the holidays and beyond. Don’t forget to follow us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram for Daily and Urgent Actions during the week.
Andrea & Katie
Co-Founders, Action Utah
PS – New to Action Utah? Join us here.