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Why This Matters: America is for sale. These areas belonged to the original Americans — and then belonged to all Americans. Now only a few — very few — Americans of this generation will profit from them — and future generations will be left with photos of their grandeur. And for what? To drill for more gas (we have plenty), mine for coal (which we don’t need), and graze cattle (which can graze elsewhere). The great Interior Secretary Steward Udall asked these questions of his generation in the 1960s in his seminal book “The Quiet Crisis,” writing: “Is a society a success if it creates conditions that…make a wasteland of its finest landscapes? What does material abundance avail if we create an environment in which man’s highest and most specifically human attributes cannot be fulfilled?” Exactly. I (Monica) am old enough to remember an ad called “America the Beautiful” from 1971 and this haunting image (below) sums up our current predicament.
Can He Do That?
The 1906 Antiquities Act empowers a president to protect public lands of archaeological significance, but it is highly debatable whether monument status can be revoked once declared. In 2017, shortly after taking office, the Interior Department redrew the boundaries of these two monuments so that Grand Staircase was cut to half its former size and Bears Ears was cut by 85 percent. According to NPR, “the law itself is unclear on who actually has the power to abolish or shrink national monument boundaries, and legal experts say it has traditionally been the responsibility of Congress to modify the size of public lands.” Tribes whose land is involved were not consulted on the new management plans.
Utah Governor Gary Herbert praised the move: “As the Antiquities Act itself states, and as I have reiterated for years, monuments should be as small as possible to protect artifacts and cultural resources. And they should not be created over the objections of local communities. I’m happy to see the Administration develop management plans that protect areas with sensitive artifacts and yet still provide a way to use these lands for recreation, grazing, and management practices that will keep the lands healthy. The outcomes are always better when the federal government works with local communities rather than presumes to know what is best for them.”
by Julia Fine Last month, we wrote about the outbreak of locust swarms traveling from East Africa to the Indian subcontinent. Now, as the New York Times reported yesterday, the locusts have made their way to New Delhi. The capital region’s fields, metro stations, suburbs, and more are now teeming with swarms. We previously noted […]
Our nation is in the midst of a moment where statues and monuments celebrating our racist past are being reevaluated and taken down. However, some on the political right have begun calling into question the validity of this conversation. Conservative media personality Meghan McCain wrote in a tweet that we’re “one week removed from entire […]
The House was set to vote to pass the Great American Outdoors Act, which will provide nearly $1B annually for parks and other conservation, but a group of Western Republicans has raised procedural hurdles that will delay final passage until late July, The Hillreported yesterday. And, a new report from the Center for American Progress (CAP) urges the United States to launch a major effort—a “Race for Nature” — to help the nation’s agricultural producers, who are facing a bleak economic future, by increasing opportunities to pay them for their conservation efforts.
Why This Matters: As the CAP Report explains, “Family farmers and ranchers need lifelines…Bold and swift investment in nature conservation can provide one.”
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