Quantcast
Popular
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
Politics
Children fishing in Tamil Nadu, the Indian region where protests took place partly over concerns of a copper smelter's impact on fish. Abhishek.cty / CC BY-SA 4.0

Police Open Fire on Pollution Protesters in India, Killing at Least 9

A protest of a controversial copper smelter in the Tamil Nadu state on the southeastern tip of India took a violent turn Tuesday when police opened fire on demonstrators, killing at least nine, Reuters reported.

Keep reading... Show less
Popular
Eagle Creek fire. Curtis Perry / Flickr / CC BY-NC-SA 2.0

Teen Ordered to Pay $36.6 Million For Starting Oregon Wildfire

A teenager who admitted to starting the Eagle Creek Canyon wildfire in Oregon that singed approximately 48,000 acres of forest land in September was ordered to pay $36.6 million in restitution.

Hood River County Circuit Judge John A. Olson admitted that the youngster will probably never be able to pay the total amount, but was obligated under state law to issue the full award to the victims of the massive blaze, including residents whose properties burned down and the state and federal departments that fought the fire, The Oregonian reported.

Keep reading... Show less
Climate
Open Grid Scheduler / Grid Engine / Flickr / CC0 1.0

Shell Shareholders Vote Down Climate Change Proposal But Signal They Still Want Action

A vast majority of Royal Dutch Shell shareholders voted down a proposal calling on the company to set specific targets for lowering its carbon dioxide emissions on Tuesday, putting their faith in the company's internal plans to fight climate change.

Keep reading... Show less
Energy
NPCA Online / Flickr / CC BY 2.0

Atlantic Coast Pipeline to Sideline 100 Miles of Construction in Virginia and West Virginia

Builders of the controversial Atlantic Coast Pipeline told federal authorities they will delay construction along 21 miles in West Virginia and 79 miles in Virginia until the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) issues a revised "incidental take statement," which limits the number of threatened or endangered species that might be accidentally killed or harmed during development activities.

Lead developer Dominion Energy filed documents Tuesday with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission in response to the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals' ruling last week. The court sided with environmental groups and their lawyers that the FWS' initial review was not clear enough in the case of the $6.5 billion pipeline and vacated one of its key permits.

Keep reading... Show less
Sponsored
Health
Solar, coal and natural gas are prominent at the Big Bend Power Station and Manatee Viewing Center parking lot in Apollo Beach, FL. Walter / CC BY 2.0

Premature Births Linked to Living Near Power Plants

Closing coal- and oil-fired power plants may help decrease the incidence of premature births in surrounding areas, according to new research.

Keep reading... Show less
Energy
Lake Oahe, the source of the Standing Rock Sioux tribe's drinking water. DVS / Flickr / CC BY 2.0

Stopping a Dakota Access Pipeline Leak in Under 10 Minutes? A Fairy Tale, Say the Standing Rock Sioux

By Susan Cosier

Nine minutes. That's the longest it would take to detect a leak and shut down the Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL) should the crude oil within begin escaping into the North Dakota prairie or the Missouri River. At least that's what Energy Transfer Partners (ETP), the pipeline's owner, says. It's a claim that the Standing Rock Sioux tribe calls completely unrealistic given the company's "inadequate" emergency response plan.

Keep reading... Show less
Sponsored
Energy
Alberta Premier Rachel Notley announced construction of Enbridge's Line 3 pipeline replacement project in Hardisty, Alberta, Canada, Aug. 10, 2016. Marc Chalifoux / Epic Photography for the Government of Alberta, CC BY-ND 2.0

How Enbridge Helped Write Minnesota Pipeline Laws, Aiding Its Line 3 Battle Today

By Logan Carroll

The Minnesota section of Enbridge's Line 3 pipeline accounts for nearly 300 miles of the longest crude oil transport system in the world, and it is failing. The multi-billion-dollar transnational corporation has applied for a permit to replace it. Opposition from tribes in the region and environmental groups is slowing the project, but the process at times appears so tilted in Enbridge's favor that, watching the court battles and utility commission meetings, it almost feels like Enbridge wrote the rules.

Keep reading... Show less
Animals
Human activity, including domesticating livestock, has had a major impact on earth's biomass. Malcolm Morley~commonswiki

Humans and Big Ag Livestock Now Account for 96 Percent of Mammal Biomass

A first-of-its-kind study published Monday shows that, when it comes to impacting life on Earth, humans are punching well above our weight.

The study, published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, is the first ever comprehensive census of the distribution of the biomass, or weight of living creatures, across classification type and environment. It found that, while humans account for 0.01 percent of the planet's biomass, our activity has reduced the biomass of wild marine and terrestrial mammals by six times and the biomass of plant matter by half.

Keep reading... Show less
Sponsored

mail-copy

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