WASHINGTON (Aug. 23, 2019) – The Bureau of Land Management released management plans for its gutted version of the Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument.
The following is a comment from Sharon Buccino, director of lands for the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC):
“The paleontological wonders and other natural treasures of the Grand Staircase-Escalante monument need and deserve our protection from drilling, mining and senseless road construction. We will continue fighting the illegal attempt by the Trump administration to gut protections for this sacred land.
“The management plans issued today are a waste of time and money; the administration should wait until after the court rules on Trump’s slashing of Grand Staircase before spending resources on new plans.
“The existing monument management plan—which has been in place for nearly 20 years—is the product of countless hours of hard-working government staff, local businesses and numerous other stakeholders who care deeply about these lands. It’s senseless and destructive for BLM to throw it out and replace it with these grossly inadequate plans.”
Featuring spectacular cliffs and canyon systems that showcase millennia of sedimentary rock formations, Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument is home to fossils that offer an unparalleled window into the Late Cretaceous period. More than 20 dinosaur species have been discovered there.
President Trump’s proclamation in 2017 slashed the monument by roughly half, replacing it with three smaller units and leaving the rest open to oil drilling, coal mining, new road construction and the use of mechanized vehicles. The BLM plans issued today concern how those three units and the excluded lands will be governed.
NRDC and other groups have sued to block this attempt to remove protections for this and other national monuments. For details on the litigation, see here.
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The Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) is an international nonprofit environmental organization with more than 3 million members and online activists. Since 1970, our lawyers, scientists, and other environmental specialists have worked to protect the world's natural resources, public health, and the environment. NRDC has offices in New York City, Washington, D.C., Los Angeles, San Francisco, Chicago, Bozeman, MT, and Beijing. Visit us at www.nrdc.org and follow us on Twitter @NRDC.