Wednesday, May 24, 2017


Today, I am writing to alert you all to an urgent public lands issue related to national monuments designations and to ask for your help. (My name is Jordan Schreiber and I've recently joined the Federal Affairs team at the Trust for Public Land as the National Advocacy and Outreach Manager.)
President Trump recently signed an Executive Order directing Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke to conduct a review of 27 national monuments. There is now a public comment period available. The Bears Ears NM in Utah is under expedited review – Secretary Zinke is to deliver a recommendation to the President by June 10. The other 26 monuments (listed at the end of this article) are under review through August 24.

BACKGROUND: This review of 27 national monuments has generated significant concern among many individuals and organizations due to the precedent it sets for undoing Presidential designation authority and because of its potential sweeping impact on public lands protections. The Trust for Public Land has long supported Presidential designations of national monuments under the authority of the Antiquities Act and we’ve opposed attempts to restrict that authority. As an FYI, The Trust for Public Land has been involved in land protection and due diligence work at several recently-designated or expanded national monuments, include California Coastal, Stonewall, Pullman Porter, Col. Young/Buffalo Soldiers, Rio Grande del Norte and the San Gabriels (of the monuments where we’ve worked, only the latter two are on the list of 27). You can read more about our support for the Antiquities Act in this op-ed from January. This sweeping review of already-designated monuments is unprecedented in its scope and is obviously geared to two monuments in particular in Utah: Bears Ears and Grand Staircase Escalante. Additionally, the new national monument in Maine – Katahdin Woods and Waters – is the only monument proposed for review under the premise of lack of public input; the other 26 monuments listed are all over 100,000 acres, which is the other criteria selected by the Trump Administration.

Bears Ears National Monument Utah
PUBLIC COMMENT PERIOD: On Thursday, May 11, the Department of the Interior formally opened a public comment period on the monument review, divided into two time frames: The Bears Ears National Monument in Utah has a 15-day comment period, ending on May 26, while the other 26 monuments are afforded a longer review period, with the comment period ending on July 10. The Trust for Public Land will be submitting formal comments as a national organization before the May 26 deadline, and we are using this email to alert you to the opportunity to weigh in on the issue as well. We thought it might help if we gave you the tools to follow through, so attached is a template for comments, and below are the steps required for submitting them.

Here’s how to submit a comment:

Follow this link to the Public Comment page -  this is the link right here

Click on the blue 'Comment Now!' button in the top right hand corner
Use the box provided to submit your comment
Select the 'I want to provide my contact information' box and type in your email
Click 'Continue'
Review your comment and click 'Submit'
After submitting, be sure to request an emailed receipt of your comment

We are encouraging as many people as possible to submit comments before the May 26 deadline, so that the response to the expedited review of Bears Ears will be substantial, but if you can’t do that please consider submitting comments before July 10 if possible.

Here is an example of what you can write:

I wish to register my concern with President Trump’s executive order attempting to undermine our national monuments. Our public lands and waters help define who we are as a nation by telling the story of our historical, cultural, and natural heritage. Attempts to rollback protections for national monuments would be terribly misguided and I strongly urge you to oppose any efforts to eliminate or shrink our national monuments.

I understand that you are doing an expedited review of the Bears Ears National Monument in Utah, whose priceless historic, cultural and natural wonders are exactly what should be permanently protected as a National Monument.  Monument status for Bears Ears protects 100,000 archaeological and cultural sites as well as stunning mesas, canyons and arches and the incredible outdoor recreation, hunting, fishing and general solitude and peace they contain --  these treasures are irreplaceable.  The designation and boundaries of the monument honors the voices of five sovereign tribal nations who joined together to seek protection of their shared ancestral lands and traditions, Bears Ears National Monument should remain protected permanently.

Additionally, a threat to one monument is a threat to them all.  Sending a signal that protections for our shared history and culture are not permanent would set a terrible precedent.  This would discourage business investment and community growth around all national monuments while also sending the signal that our history and natural wonders are negotiable.  National monuments have already been shown to be tremendous drivers of the $887 billion outdoor recreation economy and businesses in gateway communities rely on the permanency of these protections when making decisions about investing in these communities.  Whether at Bears Ears or other monuments across the country, our national monuments should remain protected for future generations to enjoy - they are a gift that belongs to all Americans.

I am firmly opposed to any effort to revoke or diminish protections for National Monuments and I urge you to support our public lands and waters and recommend that our current national monuments remain protected.


Anonymous said...

This is what I have been afraid of that Trump will rape our environment. I just commented. Thanks for the link.

Anonymous said...

I think we should use these millions of acres for fracking. Otherwise what is it good for?

Anonymous said...

Fracking? WTF! My guess is you don't live in a state where Fracking is permitted. I have relatives who do and have even sold their land to these despicable companies and boy do they regret it. No Terra Firma to be found for miles.