A Blog Posting by the Community Environmental Legal Defense Fund, from December 7, 2017.
This week, President Trump signed proclamations downsizing two natural areas established as national monuments in Utah – Bears Ears and Grand Staircase-Escalante – by 85 percent and 46 percent respectively. If court challenges are unsuccessful, over a million acres of protected land will be removed from Bears Ears alone.
Then, Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke began the process of cutting down six others, specifically to allow grazing, mining, drilling, motorized vehicle use, and commercial fishing on those lands.
In the politics of yesteryear, forever was forever. Once designated as a national monument under the Antiquities Act, it was assumed that these soaring testaments would be forever placed beyond the hands of man.
Now, everything is on the table. The only difference between then and now is who sits at the desk of the President.
Which is nuts. Basically, these lands (along with lands protected as national forests, refuges, and national parks), are now only protected to the extent that today’s elected officials feel they should be protected.
We don’t do that with the right to free speech, or the right to a free press. MORE…