Quantcast
Trump Watch
Ah-Shi-Sle-Pah in the Grand Staircase Escalante National Monument. Harry Hayashi / ISTOCKPHOTO.COM

Trump to Gut Bears Ears by 85%, Grand Staircase-Escalante by 50% on Monday

President Donald Trump is expected to order a significant downsizing of two national monuments in Utah next week, a move environmentalists have condemned as the "largest rollback of federal land protections ever."

According to leaked documents obtained by the Associated Press, the president plans to shrink Bears Ears National Monument by nearly 85 percent and reduce Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument by almost half.


The plan would gut the 1.35 million-acre Bears Ears to only 201,397 acres and the 1.87 million-acre Grand Staircase-Escalante to just 997,490 acres. This is a collective loss of more than two million acres of formerly protected land.

Trump, who will travel to Utah on Monday to formerly announce the decision, is making the move after Interior Sec. Ryan Zinke made recommendations to his boss to sharply downsize the two monuments.

Fossil fuel-linked advocates have long targeted the areas for oil, gas and coal resources within and around the monuments' boundaries. According to Zinke's leaked memo from his nationwide monuments review over the summer, Grand Staircase-Escalante sits atop "several billion tons" of coal. Coal and oil reserves also surround Bears Ears.

Environmental groups and tribal leaders have responded to the Associated Press' report with sharp condemnation. The Wilderness Society and the Native American Rights Fund have released maps of the proposed land reduction.

"It is no surprise that the Trump Administration is bowing to special interests, including the oil and mining companies, and these maps show how extreme his plans are for some of the most treasured and culturally significant lands in our nation," said Jamie Williams, president of The Wilderness Society.

“President Trump's attempt to splinter and shrink Bears Ears and Grand Staircase-Escalante would be the largest rollback of federal land protections ever," said Mark Salvo, vice president of Landscape Conservation at Defenders of Wildlife.

Bears Ears in particular features thousands of Native American archaeological and cultural artifacts.

"For us, Bears Ears is a homeland. It always has been and still is," the Bears Ears Inter-Tribal Coalition said. "The radical idea of breaking up Bears Ears National Monument is a slap in the face to the members of our Tribes and an affront to Indian people all across the country. Any attempt to eliminate or reduce the boundaries of this Monument would be wrong on every count. Such action would be illegal, beyond the reach of presidential authority."

Natalie Landreth, an attorney for the Native American Rights Fund, called Trump's action unprecedented and illegal and has already drafted a legal challenge to the move.

"He will not be able to bask in one day of applause at the Salt Lake City airport" before being sued, she told the AP.

Senator Orrin Hatch of Utah has said that the monuments in his state locked up too much land and asked Trump to shrink or rescind them.

“I believe the outcome he is planning to announce strikes an excellent balance where everyone wins," Hatch said Thursday.

Show Comments ()
Sponsored
Popular

5 Recent Victories for the Oceans

By Andy Sharpless

In the last several weeks, Oceana and its allies won five important victories that will help protect biodiversity and increase abundance in our seas:

Keep reading... Show less
Snow in Atlanta on Jan. 17, 2018. Lisa Panero / Flickr

Climate Change and Weather Extremes: Both Heat and Cold Can Kill

By Garth Heutel, David Molitor and Nolan Miller

Climate change is increasing the frequency and strength of some types of extreme weather in the U.S., particularly heat waves. Last summer the U.S. Southwest experienced life-threatening heat waves, which are especially dangerous for elderly people and other vulnerable populations.

More recently, record-setting cold temperatures engulfed much of the country during the first week of 2018. This arctic blast has been blamed for dozens of deaths. Some scientists believe that Arctic warming may be a factor in this type of persistent cold spell, although others question this connection.

Keep reading... Show less
Trump Watch
U.S. Marine Corps Lance Cpl. Cristian L. Ricardo

One Year Into the Trump Administration, Where Do We Stand?

By John R. Platt

What a long, strange year it's been.

Saturday, Jan. 20 marks the one-year anniversary of the Trump administration officially taking office after a long and arduous election. It's a year that has seen seemingly unending attacks on science and the environment, along with a rise in hateful rhetoric and racially motivated policies. But it's almost been met by the continuing growth of the efforts to resist what the Trump administration has to offer.

Keep reading... Show less
Popular

Chris J. Ratcliffe / Greenpeace

Greenpeace Slams Coca-Cola Plastic Announcement as ‘Dodging the Main Issue’

By Louise Edge

Friday Greenpeace criticized Coca-Cola's new global plastics plan for failing to address the urgency of ocean plastic pollution.

The long awaited policy from the world's largest soft drink company featured a series of measures weaker than those previously announced for Europe and the UK.

Keep reading... Show less
Sponsored
Animals
The two young Iowa vandals knocked over 50 hives and exposed the bees to deadly winter temperatures. Colby Stopa / Flickr

Two Boys Charged With Killing Half a Million Honeybees in Iowa

Two boys were charged with killing more than a half million bees at a honey business in Iowa last month.

"All of the beehives on the honey farm were destroyed and approximately 500,000 bees perished in the frigid temperatures," Sioux City police said in a release.

Keep reading... Show less
Energy

Are Microwaves Really as Bad for the Environment as Cars?

According to many headlines blared around the Internet this week, "microwaves are as damaging to the environment as cars." But this misleading information, based on a new study from the University of Manchester, hopefully doesn't make you feel guilty about zapping your next Hot Pocket.

The research, published in the journal Science of the Total Environment, found that microwave ovens across the European Union generate as much carbon dioxide as nearly 7 million cars and consume an estimated 9.4 terawatts per hour of electricity per year. Okay, that sounds like a lot. But also consider that there are about 130 million microwaves in Europe and some 291 million vehicles on its roads.

Keep reading... Show less
Sponsored
GMO

Monsanto's Roundup Destroys Healthy Microbes in Humans and in Soils

By Julie Wilson

We're only beginning to learn the importance of healthy gut bacteria to our overall health—and the relationship between healthy soil and the human microbiome.

We know that the human microbiome, often referred to as our "second brain," plays a key role in our health, from helping us digest the food we eat, to boosting our brain function and regulating our immune systems.

Keep reading... Show less
Trump Watch
Interior Sec. Ryan Zinke refused to meet with National Park System Advisory Board members last year, prompting most of them to quit. Gage Skidmore / Flickr

From National Parks to the EPA, Trump Administration Stiff-Arms Science Advisers

By Elliott Negin

The Trump administration's testy relationship with science reminds me of that old saying: Advice is least heeded when most needed.

Keep reading... Show less
Sponsored

mail-copy

The best of EcoWatch, right in your inbox. Sign up for our email newsletter!