Zinke Says Claim That Trump 'Stole' Public Land Is a Lie

07 December, 2017, 20:05 | Author: Valerie Burke
  • WATCH LIVE: Trump expected to scale back Bears Ears, Grand Staircase-Escalante national monuments

Former President Bill Clinton established Grand Staircase in 1996. Grand Staircase contains scenic cliffs, canyons, waterfalls and arches _ and one of the nation's largest known coal reserves.

"At Patagonia, we are outraged to see President Trump attempt to eliminate federal protection of two million acres of land that belongs to all Americans", says Cory Bayers, the brand's vice president of marketing.

A coalition of five tribes has also sued to preserve Bears Ears. Native American tribes and conservation groups are mounting legal challenges, even as the administration turns its focus to possibly shrinking half a dozen more in other states.

Utah's Republican leaders had pushed for Trump's action, saying the monuments closed off the land to energy development and other access.

Trump's decision comes after a review of 27 monuments across the United States by Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke.

Patagonia called the decision an "illegal move" by Trump, and said the company plans to sue the administration over the decision.

Patagonia's message included illustrations showing what part of the two monuments will no longer be protected and facts about protected lands, noting that "90 percent of USA public lands are open to oil and gas leasing and development; only 10 percent are protected for recreation, conservation and wildlife".

"Some people think that the natural resources of Utah should be controlled by a small handful of very distant bureaucrats located in Washington, and guess what: They're wrong", Trump said Monday in Utah.

Canadian company Arc'teryx also opposed the move, donating $30,000 to a group challenging the legality of Trump's actions.

The monument designated by President Bill Clinton in 1996 was almost 3,000 square miles (7,770 square kilometers).

Environmental lobby group Friends of the Earth accused Trump and his allies of plundering resources.

REI changed its homepage to feature a large photo of Bears Ears National Monument with the words "We ❤ Our Public Lands" written across it.

Zinke accompanied President Trump aboard Air Force One, as did Utah's Republican U.S. senators, Orrin Hatch and Mike Lee.

"Everybody, I think, wants some stability and certainty about what lands are protected and what lands are open to development going forward, and to have it bounce back and forth nearly like a ping pong ball would not be helpful", Keiter says. In announcing a review of monuments in April, Trump termed national monuments a "massive federal land grab" and cast their designation as an "abuse" that stripped power from local residents.

Zinke said: "You mean Patagonia made in China?" The law also states, however, that presidents should only choose the smallest amount of land possible, NPR reported. No president has ever revoked and replaced a national monument before because it is not legal to do so. While past presidents have used the Antiquities Act to protect unique lands and cultural sites in America, Trump is instead mangling the law, opening this national monument to coal mining instead of protecting its scientific, historic, and wild heritage.

Unlike national parks, which can only be created by an act of Congress, national monuments can be designated unilaterally by presidents under the 1906 Antiquities Act, which is meant to protect sacred sites, artefacts and historical objects.

The interior secretary's plan would scale back Nevada's Gold Butte and Oregon's Cascade-Siskiyou, in addition to the two Utah sites. His plan would allow logging at a newly designated monument in ME and more grazing, hunting and fishing at two sites in New Mexico.

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