Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke’s interim report on the fate of Bears Ears National Monument was released yesterday—and it isn’t good.
As expected, Zinke recommends that President Trump dramatically shrink the boundaries of Bears Ears National Monument—though he doesn’t say specifically by how much, or where. Instead, he punted the details of how he’ll recommend Trump chop up the monument to his final report, due in August. Secretary Zinke tried to mask the brutality of his recommendation by calling on Congress to make parts of Bears Ears a National Conservation Area and to give Tribes co-management of whatever crumbs remain of the monument after Trump dices it up. But Congress has had 111 years to protect Bears Ears, and it has completely failed to do so. And the Tribes already had a say in managing the original Monument.
The fact is, the president doesn’t have the authority to reduce the monument. Any attempt by Trump to reduce Bears Ears would immediately wind up in court, creating great expense for taxpayers.
But there’s still time to defend Bears Ears. And now that Zinke has made his intentions clear, your voice is more important than ever. Despite virtually ignoring previous public comments which favored keeping Bears Ears intact by a 9-1 margin, Secretary Zinke has extended the comment period for Bears Ears. Even if you’ve commented before, now is your chance to tell Zinke what you think of his plan to drastically reduce Bears Ears National Monument.
CALL TO ACTION
- Submit a comment to the Department of the Interior, even if you’ve already submitted a comment before. Click here to submit your comments now (and if you live in Utah, be sure to mention it!). Deadline is July 10th, but don’t wait!
- Equally important is saving Grand Staircase-Escalante from dramatic reduction due to coal mining interests. If you haven’t already, submit a separate comment to the Department of the Interior in favor of keeping GSENM’s boundaries just the way the they are. Click here to submit comments in support of Grand Staircase. The deadline is quickly approaching on July 10th, so act today!
- Sign petitions. Our two Utah monuments need your support. Sign this petition, this petition and this petition to support Grand Staircase, sign this petition and this petition to protect national monuments under ‘review’, and this petition to save Bears Ears. For more great petitions like these, visit our Petitions, Petitions! page, updated daily.
- Spread the word. Share this call to action, share these petitions, and also share important articles on social media. Make sure to tweet @SecretaryZinke and use hashtags like #StandWithBearsEars, #StandWithGrandStaircase, #MonumentsForAll and #mymonuments. Here are some good articles to share:
Salt Lake Tribune op-ed: “Hatch and Noel are caught up in a coal pipe dream”
Medium: “Zinke Caught Lying About Tribal Support for his Bears Ears Plan”
Salon: “Cutting up Bears Ears: The ugly racial politics behind the national monuments battle”
Bears Ears Inter-Tribal Coalition statement in response to Zinke’s recommendation on Bears Ears
Remind Secretary Zinke that:
- The President doesn’t have the authority to modify the monument’s boundaries. Only Congress can do that.
- Bears Ears National Monument was a significant achievement for the historic coalition of Tribes that came together to advocate for its protection.
- Bears Ears is the first national monument to include traditional knowledge as an object worthy of protection in the monument proclamation. And every inch of Bears Ears is necessary to preserve the more than 100,000 archaeological sites therein.
- Bears Ears is a remarkable wilderness landscape. Beyond the monument’s namesake twin buttes are world-renowned wilderness treasures like White Canyon, Indian Creek, and Comb Ridge. Myriad plant and animal species thrive in its varied habitats. And you’d be hard pressed to find the solitude provided by these areas elsewhere in the lower 48.
- Grand Staircase National Monument has boosted the economy and hundreds of businesses in Garfield County, and reducing it would harm rural communities.
- Zinke has failed to listen to business owners around Grand Staircase in his “listening tour”.