Release: CLF Opposes Recommendation to Strip Protections for Bears Ears National Monument
Durango, CO (June 12, 2017) – Today, Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke recommended major rollback of conservation protections for Bears Ears National Monument in Southeastern Utah. In direct opposition to the overwhelming public support for the Monument, Sec. Zinke has proposed stripping protections for portions of the National Monument.
“With this recommendation, Secretary Zinke is showing complete disregard for the law, science, sovereign Native American Tribes, and the will of the American people,” said Brian Sybert, Executive Director of the Conservation Lands Foundation. “If this had been an honest review, Ryan Zinke would side with the millions of Americans who want to see the natural and cultural heritage of the Bears Ears region preserved by not proposing the elimination of protections under a questionable legal authority and unnecessary changes to the remaining protections.”
Bears Ears is the ancestral home to Hopi, Navajo, Uintah and Ouray Ute, Ute Mountain Ute, and Zuni. Because of their enduring connection to the land, the December 28, 2016 designation marked the first time Native American Tribal Governments directly petitioned the U.S. Government to designate a national monument.
Bears Ears National Monument protects Native American and Mormon heritage sites, while allowing for access to the lands for contemporary Tribal uses, hunting, grazing and recreation.
The 1.35-million-acre designation was 30% smaller than what was originally requested by Tribal governments, and closely followed the Congressionally-proposed boundaries of the Utah delegation’s Public Lands Initiative.
“Should the President choose to act on these misguided recommendations, the Conservation Lands Foundation plans to defend the integrity of the Bears Ears National Monument and the Antiquities Act to the fullest extent possible,” said Sybert.