In a coordinated effort to dramatically reduce Bears Ears and Grand Staircase Escalante National Monuments, Rep. Chris Stewart followed up Trump’s proclamations last week with his national park bill, the “Grand Staircase-Escalante Enhancement Act“. While the bill may sound like a compromise from first appearances, it is not and serves rather as a distraction from the harmful impacts of last week’s presidential proclamations and a codification of the new monument’s boundaries, rendering the 48% reduction of the original monument PERMANENT and lawsuits to challenge the presidential proclamation as moot.
In addition, Rep Stewart’s bill would:
- 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 in a public lands giveaway
- Give management of the national park to local county officials even though the land belongs to all Americans
- Potentially open roads that have been closed for decades to harmful ATV traffic in environmentally sensitive areas
Rep. Stewart’s bill will be heard in the House Natural Resources Committee on Thursday, where Utah’s Rep. Bishop (himself a monument opponent and the sponsor of a bill to gut the Antiquities Act) is the Chairman. Rep. Curtis has also weighed in with his own bill to codify two monuments in Bears Ears. Rep. Love has co-sponsored both bills.
CALL TO ACTION
- Attend the Protest of Rep. Stewart’s Bill to Ratify Grand Staircase Repeal TODAY AT NOON on the SOUTH steps of the State Capitol. 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. Even if you can’t go, be sure to spread the word about the event by sharing it on social media.
- Ask out of state friends and family to contact their members of Congress. Rep. Stewart’s bill will only pass if it gets enough votes. Spread the word to folks out of state about this serious public lands issue, which would result in loss of federal public lands through a transfer to state hands or through sale or lease to private entities, reducing access to the 114 million Americans who recreate in our public lands and who are the rightful owners of all our federal public lands. Start with friends and family whose U.S. reps sit on the House Natural Resources Committee by asking them to contact their reps BEFORE THURSDAY’S HEARING. Ask others to send a letter to their reps by email or snailmail. Try using this sample letter to congressmen and this sample letter to senators as a starting point (feel free to revise and personalize).
- Support efforts to reverse and minimize the harmful impacts of the 85% monument reduction in Bears Ears and block the DOI from cutting Grand Staircase-Escalante in half. 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. Donate to Grand Staircase Escalante Partners, which has filed a federal lawsuit with Conservation Lands Foundation and the Society of Vertebrate Paleontology.
- Amplify key voices by sharing the videos and op-eds below far and wide via social media to remind elected officials across the nation how deeply unpopular the monument cuts are to Americans of all stripes, including over 98% of the people who commented on the national monuments review, veterans, religious leaders, scientists, archaeologists, students, children and even Trump supporters.
– 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
– The Hill op-ed by ardent Trump supporter, Christopher Barron, “Trump is alienating working-class supporters with national monuments rollback
– Salt Lake Tribune op-ed by Brooke Larsen, “We stand with Bears Ears and Grand Staircase for the long haul”
– Salt Lake Tribune article by Brian Maffly, “Scientists decry Trump’s move to strip fossil treasures from Utah’s Grand Staircase monument”
- 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.
[Letters to congressmen and senators adapted from the Capitol Hill Action Group]