Center for American Progress

RELEASE: Trump’s Review of Bears Ears, Grand Staircase National Monuments Seemingly a Giveaway to Industries and the Politicians They’ve Purchased
Press Release

RELEASE: Trump’s Review of Bears Ears, Grand Staircase National Monuments Seemingly a Giveaway to Industries and the Politicians They’ve Purchased

Washington, D.C. — Of all the national monuments subject to President Donald Trump’s dubious review, two of the most threatened are the Grand Staircase-Escalante and Bears Ears national monuments. Targets of the Utah Republican congressional delegation, these two national monuments are considered “bookends” for Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke’s 120-day review.

A new column from the Center for American Progress looks at the antagonists who threaten these critical areas and the connections to the fossil fuel industry that appear to be driving this veiled land grab.

“President Trump’s review of national monuments is a legal, moral, and political disaster waiting to happen,” said Mary Ellen Kustin, Director of Policy for Public Lands at the Center for American Progress. “Bears Ears and Grand Staircase-Escalante have drawn the ire of Utah politicians who seem to want to give over these national treasures to their friends to mine and drill for a quick buck. These lands belong to the people of the United States, not the well-heeled special interests calling the shots in Utah.”

The column outlines the connections between extractive industries, some members of the Utah delegation, and their eagerness to weaken protections for national monuments. For instance, House Natural Resources Committee Chairman Rob Bishop (R-UT) has accepted more out-of-state contributions than any other member of the House of Representatives, and the most generous donor to his recent campaigns is the oil and gas industry. Perhaps not surprisingly, then, he is leading the charge to undo protected statuses of public lands.

The column also presents new scientific analyses of Grand Staircase-Escalante by CAP and Conservation Science Partners. While energy interests may want to mine and drill the monument, Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument boasts rare qualities essential to preserving biodiversity.

Click here to read the paper.

For more information on this topic or to speak with an expert, contact Tom Caiazza at tcaiazza@americanprogress.org or 202.481.7141.