These Lands Were Made for You and Me

Alamy

Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke submitted his recommendations to the White House today on potential changes to 27 national monuments.

Six of California’s monuments could be rolled back in this unprecedented and illegal attack on our public lands: Berryessa Snow Mountain, Carrizo Plain, Cascade Siskiyou, Giant Sequoia, Mojave Trails, and San Gabriel Mountains.

These lands are your lands. They are not for the benefit of a few individuals or corporations who want to profit from developing them. These lands are where families camp and hike and fish and learn about the Golden State’s natural and human history. These lands, quite literally, “were made for you and me,” to quote Woody Guthrie. They were designated as monuments by former presidents of both parties using the powers granted them under the Antiquities Act.

And 98% of Americans who submitted comments asked that protections be kept in place, not swept aside by an illegitimate review process. Secretary Zinke has sent a report and recommendation to the White House, but it won't be available to the public at any time before President Trump takes action. This flies in the face of the public process that designated these spectacular monuments in the first place, and it is utterly unacceptable.

The nation, especially the 2.7 million Americans who took time out of their busy lives to participate in this process, are left in the dark by today's announcement by Secretary Zinke. The Secretary himself recognizes that the comments received were “overwhelmingly in favor of maintaining existing monuments.” His recommendations should not roll back or diminish any Monument protections, but if they do, we will absolutely fight back.

Berryessa Snow Mountain, Carrizo Plain, Cascade Siskiyou, Giant Sequoia, Mojave Trails, and San Gabriel Mountains National Monuments are part of our children’s heritage and their children’s after them. They create jobs for local communities and draw tourists from around the world. They are a bulwark against the damaging effect of climate change already impacting California.

Our public lands are truly one of “America’s best ideas” and one that we will stand up to protect at every turn, in California and across the country. 

About the Authors

Helen O'Shea

Director, Western Renewable Energy Project

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