The move is a threat to these pristine lands and the irreplaceable artifacts, fossils, and Indigenous cultural sites they hold.
In another grotesque attack against our public lands, the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) today finalized plans to allow drilling and other extractive activities in previously protected areas of Utah’s Bears Ears and Grand Staircase-Escalante national monuments, which the administration began to dismantle two years ago.
“These plans are atrocious—and entirely predictable,” says Sharon Buccino, senior director for lands at NRDC. “They are the latest in a series of insults to these magnificent lands by the Trump administration.”
The administration’s attempts to shrink the two monuments by millions of acres have been met with a wave of public opposition from the start, with more than one million public comments being sent in 2017. Environmental advocates and Indigenous rights groups cite not only the threat to the region’s beloved badlands, cliffs, and canyon systems but also the threat to some of the world’s most well-preserved artifacts, dinosaur fossils, and cultural sites sacred to Indigenous peoples.
Legal challenges are ongoing from organizations like NRDC, which argue that President Trump does not have the constitutional or statutory authority to roll back monument protections. “We stand with the five tribes and the millions of Americas who vigorously oppose this degradation and giveaway of our public lands,” Buccino says. “And we will continue to challenge the unlawful dismantling of these Utah treasures in court.”