Why Our Natural Monuments Deserve More Protection than Outdated National Monuments

Why Our Natural Monuments Deserve More Protection than Outdated National Monuments

By Sherri Goodman and Leah Emanuel On June 26, President Trump issued an executive order demanding the prosecution of “anarchists and left-wing extremists” destroying and defacing American monuments. Asserting that it is the role of the Federal Government to protect federal monuments, memorials, statues, and property to their fullest extent, the order proclaims that Federal, […]

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Trump Jr. Says the President Slashed Bears Ears Monument So The Public Could Access It

Trump Jr. Says the President Slashed Bears Ears Monument So The Public Could Access It

Donald Trump Jr. in an interview with the Salt Lake Tribune over the weekend argued that by drastically reducing the size of Bear’s Ears monument his father was giving the public MORE access to public lands. The Tribune pointed out that Obama and Biden had “originally designated the Bears Ears area in southeastern Utah as a national monument, protecting 1.35 million acres from development” and that President Trump had ” at the behest of Utah’s elected Republican leaders, slashed the monument’s acreage by 85%…”

 

Why This Matters: Clearly Trump Jr. does not understand what a monument is and who it benefits — or he is just not telling the truth.

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Permanent Funding for Land and Water Conservation Close, Ocean Monument Order Draws Suit

Permanent Funding for Land and Water Conservation Close, Ocean Monument Order Draws Suit

The Senate voted overwhelmingly to pass the Great American Outdoors Act and put $900m each year in perpetuity into the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF), which can be used to create, further protect, and expand federal, state, and local parks. In order to preserve the first fully protected area in the Atlantic Ocean, environmental groups yesterday challenged President Trump’s order opening up the NE Canyons and Seamounts Marine National Monument to commercial fishing.

Why This Matters:  The public overwhelmingly supports conserving our most precious areas of historic importance and natural beauty.

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Trump Guts Only Atlantic Ocean National Monument — Opens It To Fishing

Trump Guts Only Atlantic Ocean National Monument — Opens It To Fishing

The President traveled to Maine on Friday (World Environment Day) and ordered the elimination of prohibitions on fishing in the Northeast Canyons and Seamounts Marine National Monument, effectively lifting its protected status immediately.  

Why This Matters: The Antiquities Act gives the President the power to create monuments and protect them from harm, but not to revoke them or eliminate core protections.

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Trump Finalizes Plans For Drilling, Mining and Grazing in Former Utah Monuments

Trump Finalizes Plans For Drilling, Mining and Grazing in Former Utah Monuments

Yesterday the Trump Administration published their “blueprints” to sell off development rights for additional oil and gas drilling, mining, grazing and road building on land that had been permanently protected as “national monuments” under Presidents Clinton and Obama.

Why This Matters:  Nearly 2 million acres of sacred and pristine lands, cultural artifacts and rock art, and fossils in Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument and Bears Ears National Monument are now at risk of permanent damage due to development and agricultural use.

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Northeast (NE) Canyons and Seamounts Monument Designation Stands

Northeast (NE) Canyons and Seamounts Monument Designation Stands

At the end of December, an appeals court in Washington, D.C. upheld the designation by President Obama of the first national “monument” in the Atlantic Ocean, the Northeast Canyons and Seamounts Monument off the coast of Cape Cod, an area teeming with unique and endangered wildlife (such as North Atlantic Right Whales) and due to its topography of deep canyons and extinct volcanic peaks. 

Why This Matters:  This is a clear win for the conservation of natural resources.  The area covered by the monument is full of ocean wonders and is as deserving of protection as similarly precious places on land — like Yellowstone or Yosemite.

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