Trump Administration Threatens Public Lands and Waters with Industrial Ravage and Ruin

WASHINGTON – Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke called today for President Trump to roll back protections for some of the nation’s most cherished public lands and waters, opening the door to drilling, mining and other destruction in special places that belong to all Americans.

Rhea Suh, president of the Natural Resources Defense Council, made the following statement.

“This proposed rollback of our treasured public lands and waters is as outrageous as it is illegal.  And it flies in the face of the original intention for our national monuments – to save America’s most special places for everyone, not just an entitled few.    

“Our laws grant presidents the power to protect special places for all time. No president, though, has the right to take public waters and lands away from us for the sake of industrial ravage and ruin. 

“Bears Ears is an American wonderland of sandstone canyons, desert mesas and forested highlands sacred to Native American peoples and important to us all. We’ll fight to protect those lands.

“The Northeast Canyons and Seamounts, off the coast of New England, contain some of the richest, most pristine marine habitat anywhere off the continental U.S. We’ll stand up to protect this ‘Grand Canyon of the Atlantic.’ 

“These cherished waters and iconic lands have been set aside, for all time, so that future generations may know the natural splendor, cultural diversity and vivid history we share as American people.  That’s a promise we’ve made to our children. It’s a promise we’re going to keep. If Trump tries to break it, we’ll see him in court. That’s a promise too.”

For more on this attack on our oceans and lands, see this blog by NRDC President Rhea Suh.

For more on the threats to the Northeast Canyons and Seamounts Marine National Monument, see this blog by Brad Sewell, Director of Fisheries and the U.S. Atlantic for NRDC’s Oceans program.

NRDC’s recent report, “America’s Monuments: Worth the Fight,” on how our monuments benefit the economy and preserve our heritage, wildlife and history, can be found here.

An interactive NRDC story map of the national monuments Secretary Zinke reviewed can be found here.


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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 and follow us on Twitter @NRDC.



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