Trump Administration Moves to Strip Protection from Bears Ears Monument
WASHINGTON – Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke took the first official step today towards stripping federal protection from the Bears Ears National Monument in southeastern Utah. He proposed reevaluating the boundaries of Bears Ears, and its management.
The following is a statement by Rhea Suh, president of the Natural Resources Defense Council:
“This strikes at a core American value - our commitment to set aside special places that preserve our heritage, enrich our lives and honor the people who forged our history. It’s an affront to the indigenous peoples who hammered out a visionary plan to co-manage areas held sacred by multiple tribes. And it sends a chilling signal about the Trump administration’s intent to hand over irreplaceable American landscapes to mining and fossil fuel interests.
“And this is just the beginning of the Trump administration’s assault on our national monuments.
“President Trump doesn’t have the legal authority to abolish monument protections. We’ll fight any attempt to do so - in the court of public opinion, and in our courts of law.”
Zinke’s move comes at the close of an expedited “review” of the monument by the administration—widely understood as a pretext for unraveling federal protections at the behest of Utah lawmakers beholden to mining and oil and gas interests. In the past seven weeks, more than one million Americans have stood up to insist that Bears Ears and other national monuments be protected - not parceled out for industrial use.
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The Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) is an international nonprofit environmental organization with more than 2 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.