On Monday, December 4th, Donald Trump initiated the first ever reduction in size of US National Monuments, which had been established by Presidents Bush and Obama.
At a rally in Salt Lake City, Trump announced the downsizing of the Bears Ears and Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monuments.
Trump stated: “We're going to Utah. We're going to be doing something that the state of Utah and others have wanted to be done for many, many years. It will be one of the great, really, events in this country in a long time. So important for states' rights and so important for the people of Utah.”
“States rights” is a euphemism often used by Republicans to turn over public resources to private interests, at the expense of the public and the environment.
Also on the chopping block are several National Marine Monuments, as well as several more land-based monuments.
Furthermore, the Department of Commerce is reviewing several National Marine Sanctuaries that the Administration is considering shrinking in size to accommodate commercial fishing and offshore oil drilling.
It is not clear that any of this is legal, as the Antiquities Act does not have any provisions for a President to undo the designations by his predecessors.
The expansions of these National Marine Sanctuaries conducted over the last ten years that are under review by the Dept. of Commerce include:
Also under review are:
It is a huge give-away to the oil, mining, timber, and commercial fishing industries, unprecedented and very dangerous. Clearly, no conservation measures are secure under the Trump Administration and its extreme anti-environment campaign.
The International Marine Mammal Project and other environmental organizations are considering taking legal action to fight the rush to gut our National Monuments, on the land and under the sea. Several Native American groups have also pledged to sue Trump over the issue. More on that later.
Photo credit Ed Bierman, Creative Commons License 2.0.