Conservation Lands Foundation Condemns Trump Administration’s Illegal Elimination of Bears Ears and Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monuments
Contact: Brian Sybert (406) 438-5185
Durango, Colo. (December 4th, 2017) – The Conservation Lands Foundation condemns the Trump Administration’s proclamation today as an illegal assault against Bears Ears and Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monuments, and vows to file suit in federal court to overturn this executive action. By reducing Bears Ears by approximately 85 percent and Grand Staircase by nearly half, this Administration blatantly and callously betrayed the American people and robbed us of protected public lands with irreplaceable historic, cultural and scientific significance. It is yet another insult to sovereign Tribal Nations, which this president has disparaged time and again.
“This is nothing more than political score-settling from an administration that doesn’t seem to comprehend the extraordinary value these lands hold for Native American communities and all Americans. The elimination of these national treasures is beyond belief,” said Conservation Lands Foundation Executive Director Brian Sybert. “These lands belong to the American people, who have already agreed that they should be protected for our use and enjoyment, and for future generations. Conservation Lands Foundation, along with our partners, will fight the Trump Administration in court for every inch of the National Conservation Lands, and other protected public lands. The American public deserves nothing less.”
Trump and Zinke’s illegal actions are a direct assault on the 111-year old Antiquities Act which has served presidents since Teddy Roosevelt and provided executive authority to protect lands imbued with historic, cultural or scientific importance. Sixteen presidents have used the Antiquities Act to designate 157 national monuments since 1906 including, the Grand Canyon, Acadia and the Statue of Liberty.
Ed Norton, Board Chair of Conservation Lands Foundation: “The Trump Administration’s assault on America’s national monuments is simply unacceptable. President Trump should be ashamed of his betrayal of American values. The clear majority of Americans–the owners of these lands–do not support these unprecedented actions. Secretary Zinke’s National Monument Review was a sham and a fraud from the beginning. Today’s announcement has been a forgone conclusion since Trump ordered Zinke to do the review. Zinke is a Trump toady, and has the same relationship with the truth and fake facts as the President. Whatever claim Zinke may have had to being a Teddy Roosevelt conservationist, he gave that claim up today. He now is neck and neck with Albert Fall and Jim Watt in the running for the worst Secretary of Interior in our nation’s history.”
Richard Moe, Conservation Lands Foundation Board Member and former president of the National Trust for Historic Preservation: “President Trump is attempting to reverse more than a century of tradition by eliminating national monuments that protect sites sacred to Native peoples, generate billions in tourism revenue and provide unmatched places for all to enjoy. His actions today make clear his Administration’s interests don’t lie with those who cherish our national heritage contained in our protected public lands.”
The Trump Administration’s flagrant attack marks the conclusion of a politically motivated review of the nation’s national monuments set in motion by executive order earlier this year. By the Administration’s own admission – detailed in the review process report summary – the “[public] comments received were overwhelmingly in favor of maintaining existing monuments.” In fact, 98 percent of nearly 3 million public comments supported our national monuments, yet the president has acted on Zinke’s specious recommendations and rejected the will of the American people.
Doug Wheeler, Conservation Lands Foundation Board Member and Partner at Hogan Lovells: “We, along with our partners, are ready to challenge these attacks in the courts. The President does not have the authority to make these unmerited and illegal revocations and material alterations of our national monuments, and we’re confident that the courts will rule in our favor.”
The non-profit Conservation Lands Foundation is the only organization in the country dedicated solely to protecting, restoring and expanding the National Conservation Lands so they will endure from generation to generation. The National Conservation Lands are 36 million acres of protected public lands and rivers, managed by the Bureau of Land Management, that have joined the ranks of our national parks and wildlife refuges protecting our nation’s heritage and helping drive the country’s $887 billion outdoor recreation economy. www.ConservationLands.org