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Interior Secretary Zinke has recommended revising Bears Ears' boundary
SANTA FE, NM—Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke has issued an interim recommendation to President Trump to shrink the boundary of Bears Ears National Monument, while implying that such action is authorized under the Antiquities Act.
President Obama designated Bears Ears National Monument on December 28, 2016 under the authority of the Antiquities Act to protect the wild places and sacred sites of the area. He did so after giving Utah Congressional officials years to pass a bill of their own to protect the wild and sacred region.
Chris Krupp, Public Lands Guardian for WildEarth Guardians, offered the following statement regarding Secretary Zinke’s recommendation:
“Secretary Zinke knows full well that Americans overwhelmingly oppose his recommendation to shrink Bears Ears. It is condescending to ask the public for comment, be told by more than nine out of ten people to leave Bears Ears alone, and then disregard the direction he sought. He can’t pretend to be championing local wishes over the national interest either, as almost two-thirds of Utahns want to keep Bears Ears as a national monument at its current size.”
"Americans understood this review of Bears Ears for what it was: a naked attempt to eliminate protections on incomparable cultural resources and an iconic landscape that has been sacred to local tribes for thousands of years. With this recommendation, Secretary Zinke is looking to reward powerful oil and gas industry executives and appease Utah politicians intent on defying their constituents’ wishes. At his swearing in, the Secretary pledged to grant Native Americans ‘the freedom and respect they deserve’, yet three months later he wants to renege on an agreement the nation made with five tribes who hold Bears Ears sacred. Secretary Zinke needs to renounce his claims to Teddy Roosevelt’s legacy.”
“Any action by the President or the Interior Department to shrink the size of Bears Ears would violate the Antiquities Act. Congress has not given a sitting President the authority to rescind or reduce national monuments designated by previous Presidents. If President Trump defies the law, WildEarth Guardians will take him to court to defeat this plan to give away one of America’s crown jewels to billionaire friends in the oil and gas industries.”