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

The Valley of the Gods in the current Bears Ears Monument                Image: Jake Crump, The Washington Post

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 Democrats have been able to spin the Bears Ears notion as, ‘Oh, my God, they’re getting rid of a national monument,’” Donald Trump Jr. said on a conference call Friday with regional news outlets.

“It just couldn’t be further from the truth,” he continued. The Trump administration is “getting rid of belt-and-suspenders-type regulations to allow people access to be able to enjoy these monuments and to be able to do it for everyone to enjoy their public lands.”

“So this administration has gone above and beyond opening up more access to public lands, I believe [more than] anyone since [President Teddy] Roosevelt, you know, when they started the whole public parks program.”

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.  The Tribune could have explained why monument status would provide the public more access to enjoy the monument for generations to come, and that what the President did was sell it to the highest oil and gas bidder.  We don’t think recreation and oil drilling can mix.

To Go Deeper: This excellent story by The Washington Post’s  and  on what remains of the Bears Ears Monument.

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