On May 7th Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke arrived in Utah for a four day visit to speak with locals about the Bears Ears and Escalante Monuments. Both of which are in jeopardy after an executive order that Donald Trump signed. This order puts 24 monuments that were dedicated in the past 21 years as subject for review. These monuments can either be stripped of their designation under the order or they are subject to have new boundary lines drawn. The state government claims that the 1.3 million acres that the Bears Ears Monument occupies is just too massive and is blatant federal government over reach.
There has been reporting in local news claiming that the local Native communities were strong armed into supporting the Bears Ears Monument by big money, however the Native delegations that Zinke met with painted a very different picture. A strong majority of the local tribes have support for the Monuments and feel that their rights to the land have been considered and are protected by the enactment of the monuments. (1) The natives are still permitted to use the land as they did prior to the designations such as ceremonial purposes and gathering of wood and medicines from the local plant life.
Local Tribes initially were happy to be heard by Zinke because they feel that Trump signed the executive order because of pressures by big oil and gas and didn’t take any time to speak to local communities that are directly impacted by rescinding or shrinking the monuments. Prior to President Obama designating the Monument the administration met with 75 tribal leaders in the area to decide if the area should be designated. Ultimately Obama agreed. Zinke’s visit was supposed to appease these groups and make them feel that they had a voice. Delegations that met with him painted a very different picture. The meetings that they were allowed with him were very short and Zinke’s demeanor was disrespectful and dismissive. (1) Attendees also claim that all of the commentary from Zinke sounded canned and rehearsed. (2)
Non-Natives in the area were also disappointed. Zinke did not allow them any face time during his visit. Since the designation of Escalante and Bears Ears, local businesses have flourished with the influx of tourism. The economies in those areas are stronger than they have ever been. There are now many jobs available where there once were dwindling towns. As a contrast, the Obama administration spent a lot of time speaking with local communities and business owners prior to declaring it a monument. Business owners made many requests to meet with Zinke during his visit, all requests were denied. (2) In fact while Zinke met with some tribal leaders most of his time was spent hearing arguments from advocates that want the designations to be reversed. (4)
The state government has played the largest part in Trump putting all of these monuments under review. They say that Obama exercised gross over reach of federal power with the designation. During Zinke’s visit he was accompanied by Governor Herbert and Senator Orrin Hatch. Both are pro oil and gas and anti-environmental protection. This is evident as Salt Lake Valley has some of the worst air in the nation and neither have made any attempt to regulate industries that are dumping tons of pollutants into the air. Both are also staunch climate change deniers. In fact, part of why they pushed so hard to get the designations reversed is because they have already sold oil leases to a Texas oil company. (3) They claim that is lost revenue to the state.
As Zinke wraps up his 4 day tour of Utah he marvels at the beauty of the state and pats himself on the back claiming that the government has never gone this far out of their way to hear local opinions on such matters. He will now return to DC to make a recommendation to Trump on the best next steps. Members of the state are nervous at the outcome as they feel his visit was very one sided and that his visit was basically a 4-day photo op where the government could act as if they are going through the motions. (4) Zinke has until June 10th to submit his recommendation to the Trump administration on how best to handle the monuments in question. He did not indicate what his recommendations would be prior to leaving the state.
Here is a list of all of the monuments that are in jeopardy. Please call your local and state government to let them know how vital these areas are to our communities (5):
►Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument in Utah, proclaimed by President Clinton in 1996. (1.7 million acres).
► Grand Canyon-Parashant National Monument in Arizona, proclaimed by Clinton in 2000 (1 million acres).
► Giant Sequoia National Monument in California, proclaimed by Clinton in 2000 (327,769 acres).
► Vermilion Cliffs National Monument in Arizona, proclaimed by Clinton in 2000 (279,568 acres).
► Hanford Reach National Monument in Washington, proclaimed by Clinton in 2000 (194,450 acres).
► Canyons of the Ancients National Monument in Colorado, proclaimed by Clinton in 2000 (175,160 acres).
► Ironwood Forest National Monument in Arizona, proclaimed by Clinton in 2000 (128,917 acres).
► Sonoran Desert National Monument in Arizona, proclaimed by Clinton in 2001 (486,149 acres).
► Upper Missouri River Breaks National Monument in Montana, proclaimed by Clinton in 2001 (377,346 acres).
► Carrizo Plain National Monument in California, proclaimed by Clinton in 2001 (204,107 acres).
► Papahanaumokuakea Marine National Monument in the Pacific Ocean, proclaimed by President George W. Bush in 2006 and expanded by President Barack Obama in 2016, (89.6 million acres).
► World War II Valor in the Pacific National Monument in California, Hawaii and Alaska, proclaimed by Bush in 2008 (4 million acres).
► Marianas Trench Marine National Monument in the Pacific Ocean, proclaimed by Bush in 2009 (60.9 million acres).
► Pacific Remote Islands Marine National Monument in the Pacific Ocean, proclaimed by Bush in 2009 and enlarged by Obama in 2014. (55.6 million acres).
► Rose Atoll Marine National Monument in American Samoa, proclaimed by Bush in 2009 (8.6 million acres).
► Rio Grande del Norte National Monument in New Mexico, proclaimed by Obama in 2013. (242,555 acres).
► Organ Mountains-Desert Peaks National Monument in New Mexico, proclaimed by Obama in 2014 (496,330 acres).
► Basin and Range National Monument in Nevada, proclaimed by Obama in 2015 (703,585 acres).
► Berryessa Snow Mountain in California, proclaimed by Obama in 2015 (330,780 acres).
► Northeast Canyons & Seamounts Marine National Monument in the Atlantic Ocean, proclaimed by Obama in 2016 (3.1 million acres).
► Mojave Trails National Monument in California, proclaimed by Obama in 2016 (1.6 million acres).
► Bears Ears National Monument in Utah, proclaimed by Obama in 2016 (1.4 million acres).
► Gold Butte National Monument in Nevada, proclaimed by Obama in 2016 (296,937 acres).
► Sand to Snow National Monument in California, proclaimed by Obama in 2016 (154,000 acres).
About CANA Foundation
CANA Foundation’s mission is to responsibly restore an ecological balance in our environment through specific rewilding initiatives. These projects support harmony between the humans, plants, and animals that inhabit U.S. rangelands and focus on the restoration of our land’s native habitats through natural resources and indigenous species, like America’s wild horses. CANA initiatives work towards long-term, sustainable solutions that prevent further land degradation, protect and preserve wild horse populations, and encourage a beneficial, thriving ecosystem for today and tomorrow.
Contact CANA Foundation: PO Box 674, Locust Valley, NY 11560 or [email protected]Donate to CANA Foundation
It is up to us, American citizens, to contact our elected representatives of government and let them know how we feel about the issues. Use a service like GovTrack.us to find your local representatives and make your voice heard.Visit GovTrack.us
Share this Story
Inspire others to rewild and learn more by sharing this story on your social media profile(s).
#canaFoundation #rewildOurWorld #naturallyConsiderate #inspire
- Featured Image: Fowler, J. (Oct. 12, 2014). Metate by Starlight. Retrieved from https://www.flickr.com/photos/snowpeak/15371880768/