Quantcast
Trump Watch
Natural Bridges National Monument is one of Bears Ears' most famous stretches of land. Jacob W. Frank

Zinke Calls for Scaling Back Bears Ears National Monument

Interior Sec. Ryan Zinke is recommending President Trump scale back portions of the Bears Ears National Monument, saying that the Antiquities Act should be used to protect the "smallest area" needed to cover important sites. Zinke's recommendations, announced Monday, add fuel to the controversy over the Utah monument, which President Obama designated during his final days in office.


Green groups and several Native American groups announced their intent to sue should the administration follow Zinke's recommendations. While the land in Bears Ears is not thought to contain significant oil or gas deposits, mining and fossil fuel interests cheered the decision as a preview of how the Trump administration may handle scaling back protections for more oil and gas-rich federally protected land.

Outrage ensued after Zinke's announcement.

"The Trump administration wants to carve up every last inch of this country so that corporate polluters can line their pockets, but the people who live, worship, work and rely on the protection of public lands and waters will stand up to this attack," said Mary Nicol, Greenpeace USA senior climate campaigner. "The Interior Department is still reviewing nearly 30 monuments, including Bears Ears, that could lose their protected status. It's time to put Secretary Zinke on speed dial and demand that the Interior Department protect public lands and waters."

Patagonia's president and CEO Rose Marcario, who has been outspoken on protecting public lands, said Zinke's recommendation "ignores the law and public outcry."

"Despite months of rhetoric claiming his respect for Teddy Roosevelt's legacy of public lands protection, Secretary Zinke revealed he is just another politician looking to exploit and develop America's public lands at the expense of our children and grandchildren," Marcario continued.

"Bears Ears holds irreplaceable cultural, ecological and recreational value and it needs our protection. If the president decides to usurp Congress's authority and shrink the boundaries on his own, Patagonia will take legal action to defend our public lands. We hope everyone who cares about public lands will continue to let their voices be heard."

Since the Trump Administration launched the "review" of national monuments in April, more than 1 million Americans have weighed in to uphold protections for monuments, including Bears Ears. A recent analysis showed that communities located near monuments and other protected public lands have stronger economies and quality of life.

Since it was signed into law in 1906, the Antiquities Act has been used by 16 presidents—eight Democrats and eight Republicans—to protect existing public lands as national monuments. No president has ever attempted to revoke a national monument.

"Diminishing protections for the Bears Ears National Monument is an affront to the sovereign Tribal Nations whose cultural heritage is at risk," said Sierra Club Executive Director Michael Brune. "It's a thinly veiled attempt to sell out our public lands and an insult to people across the country who love and care about our great outdoors."

"Our public lands are the embodiment of our democracy," he added. "We will continue to work to ensure everyone can see themselves on our public lands, not just cronies of Donald Trump."

For a deeper dive:

Recommendations: Washington Post, Reuters, NPR, Politico Pro. Reactions: Politico Pro

For more climate change and clean energy news, you can follow Climate Nexus on Twitter and Facebook, and sign up for daily Hot News.

Show Comments ()
Sponsored
Freight Farms

Why This Montana Farmer Grows Food Year-Round in Shipping Containers

By Isabelle Morrison

Kim Curren, owner of Shaggy Bear Farm in Bozeman, Montana, has worn many hats. She worked in the solar power industry for 15 years, owned her own café bookstore and worked a stint as a medical case manager. In 2016, Curren decided to try her hand at farming, because why not?

Keep reading... Show less
Sam Murphy

Got Nondairy Alternative Milk?

By Sam Schipani

More and more, ecologically minded milk consumers are turning to nondairy products to minimize their carbon hoofprints. Sales of almond milk shot up by 250 percent between 2011 and 2016. Meanwhile, consumption of dairy milk has plummeted 37 percent since the 1970s, according to the USDA.

Keep reading... Show less
Food
A burger made with a blend of beef and mushrooms. Mushroom Council

'Blended Burger' Allows a Simple Shift to More Sustainable Eating

By Richard Waite, Daniel Vennard and Gerard Pozzi

Burgers are possibly the most ubiquitous meal on Americans' dinner plates, but they're also among the most resource-intensive: Beef accounts for nearly half of the land use and greenhouse gas emissions associated with the food Americans eat.

Although there's growing interest in plant-based burgers and other alternatives, for the millions of people who still want to order beef, there's a better burger out there: a beef-mushroom blend that maintains, or even enhances, that meaty flavor with significantly less environmental impact.

Keep reading... Show less
Popular
Old White Truck / Flickr

The Last Straw? EU Official Hints Ban on Single-Use Plastic Across Europe

A top EU official hinted that legislation to cut plastic waste in Europe is coming soon.

Frans Timmermans, the first vice president of the European Commission, made the comment after Britain's environment minister Michael Gove, a pro-Brexiter, suggested that staying in the EU would make it harder for the UK to create environmental laws such as banning plastic drinking straws.

Keep reading... Show less
Sponsored
Energy
Flare from gas well. Ken Doerr / Flickr

Court Orders Trump Administration to Enforce Obama-Era Methane Rule

A federal judge reinstated a widely supported methane waste rule that President Trump's administration has repeatedly tried to stop.

Judge William Orrick of the U.S. District Court for Northern California ruled Thursday that Bureau of Land Management's (BLM) decision to suspend core provisions of the 2016 Methane and Waste Prevention Rule was "untethered to evidence."

Keep reading... Show less
Energy
On Jan. 24, 2017 President Donald Trump signed a memorandum to expedite the Keystone XL permitting process. Twitter | Donald Trump

Inside the Trump Admin's Fight to Keep the Keystone XL Approval Process Secret

By Steve Horn

At a Feb. 21 hearing, a U.S. District Court judge ruled that the Trump administration must either fork over documents showing how the U.S. Department of State reversed an earlier decision and ultimately came to approve the Keystone XL pipeline, or else provide a substantial legal reason for continuing to withhold them. The federal government has an order to deliver the goods, one way or the other, by March 21.

Keep reading... Show less
Sponsored
Health

New Black Lung Epidemic Emerging in Coal Country

In a study released this month by the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH), federal researchers identified more than 400 cases of complicated black lung in three clinics in southwestern Virginia between 2013 and 2017—the largest cluster ever reported.

However, the actual number of cases is likely much, much higher as the government analysis relied on self-reporting. An ongoing investigation from NPR has counted nearly 2,000 cases diagnosed since 2010 across Appalachia.

Keep reading... Show less
Energy
Dennis Schroeder / NREL

The Facts About Trump’s Solar Tariffs – Who Gets Hurt? Who Gets Helped?

By John Rogers

The solar-related shoe we've been expecting has finally dropped: President Trump recently announced new taxes on imported solar cells and modules. There's plenty of downside to his decision, in terms of solar progress, momentum and jobs. But will it revive U.S. manufacturing?

Keep reading... Show less
Sponsored

mail-copy

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