Press Release Dec 4, 2017

Trump to the American People: Your Public Lands Aren’t Worth Protecting

In a move that disregards millions of people including local tribes, today President Trump signed a proclamation to erase and gut protections at Bears Ears and Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monuments.

Background: In a move that disregards millions of people including local tribes, today President Trump signed a proclamation to erase and gut protections at Bears Ears and Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monuments. Following the President’s Executive Order issued earlier this spring ordering the Department of Interior to review national monuments designated by the Antiquities Act, President Trump’s action to reduce Bears Ears by 85 percent and Grand Staircase-Escalante by nearly half not only wrongfully calls into question the value of these places, it blatantly disregards the will of millions of Americans and is illegal.

Since 1906, 16 U.S. Presidents, representing both political parties, have designated more than 150 national monuments using the Antiquities Act. But no president has the authority to remove protections. From Acadia to Zion, to the Statue of Liberty, many of our most iconic national parks were first protected using the Antiquities Act.

Statement by Theresa Pierno, President and CEO for National Parks Conservation Association

“Today’s action against Bears Ears and Grand Staircase-Escalante only solidifies NPCA’s perspective that the Trump Administration’s actions against our national parks and public lands have been more harmful than any previous President’s.

“Nearly every U.S. President in the last century has valued our national parks and monuments. They’ve established them, they’ve protected them and like us, they’ve visited and enjoyed them. Instead, on his first trip to Utah as President, he is dismantling them. Since taking office, the Trump administration has implemented or proposed 30 executive actions that undermine national parks – from removing safeguards to clean air and water, to putting iconic park wildlife in the crosshairs. This latest move is one of the worst in this growing list of attacks on our public lands.

“More than 2.8 million Americans have asked the Trump administration to leave our national monuments protected as they are. These actions to reduce Bears Ears and Grand Staircase-Escalante completely disregard the will of the American people and the important cultural significance these places hold among tribal communities and beyond. These proposed reductions leave the surrounding national park landscapes at Glen Canyon National Recreation Area, Natural Bridges National Monument and Canyonlands National Park vulnerable.

“In his Thanksgiving message, Interior Secretary Zinke suggested the nation must be vigilant in the defense of the American conservation ethic. These ill-conceived actions, planned behind closed doors, caters to industry and are counter to his call to the nation.

“We value these places for their irreplaceable views, cultural and historic importance and recreational opportunities. They deserve protections that will last for generations to come. We must and we will fight back and are prepared to go to court.“

Statement by David Nimkin, Southwest Senior Regional Director for National Parks Conservation Association

“When most people first visit the great state of Utah, they are awestruck by its beauty, wildlife and culture. They visit the national parks and monuments and get lost in their history and breathtaking landscapes. But in his first visit to Utah as President of the United States, Donald Trump won’t be taking in the landscapes, visiting with tribal communities or basking in the rich culture of our public lands. Instead, he is calling to erase protections for two iconic places that belong to all of us, are the ancestral homelands of tribal communities, and turn them over to those who want to develop them. This is a sad day for all Americans and we won’t let this illegal action stand. We’ll continue to fight in court and with the public to keep Bears Ears and Grand Staircase-Escalante protected as they were meant to be.”

# # #

About National Parks Conservation Association Since 1919, the nonpartisan National Parks Conservation Association has been the leading voice in safeguarding our national parks. NPCA and its more than 1.3 million members and supporters work together to protect and preserve our nation’s natural, historic, and cultural heritage for future generations. For more information, visit www.npca.org.