Bears Ears Archives - Page 5 of 13


  • December 4th, 2017

    FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
    December 4, 2017

    Contact: Scott Groene, Executive Director, 801.712.5034 (cell)
    Steve Bloch, Legal Director, 801-428-3981
    Mathew Gross, Media Director, 802-578-3394

    Salt Lake City, UT – In response to President Trump’s proclamations today that eviscerate Bears Ears National Monument and Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monuments, Southern Utah Wilderness Alliance Executive Director Scott Groene issued the following statement:

    “Today’s illegal proclamations by President Trump represent the single greatest attack a president has ever launched against America’s federal public lands. It is certain that the legacies of both President Trump, and Sen. Orrin Hatch, who goaded him into this despicable act, will be forever tainted by their assault on more than two million acres of Utah’s wild lands that are beloved by the American public.”

    “SUWA is committed to defending these monuments in court, and confident that today’s political action will be overturned. Bears Ears and Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monuments will be restored to their full glory, and President Trump’s action today will be remembered as another failed attempt to thwart the will of the American people, who want these lands to remain protected.”

    With regard to his attack on Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument, Trump divided it into three smaller sections totaling roughly 1 million acres, (a 48% reduction [900,000 acres less]) than the original monument.

    “By eliminating nearly half of Grand Staircase-Escalante, President Trump has opened up some of the most wild and scenic redrock canyons in Utah to the lost cause of coal mining. For 21 years, the protected Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument has inspired families to reconnect with the wild and with each other, has reinvigorated surrounding communities, and lead to significant paleontological discoveries. It has even been affirmed and ratified by Congress. Trump’s grandstanding disregards the success of this monument, merely because Sen. Hatch instructed him to.”

    With regard to his ferocious attack on Bears Ears National Monument, Trump replaced it with two, much smaller, non-contiguous units totaling less than 230,000 acres (an 83% reduction [1.15 million acres less] when compared to Bears Ears).

    “President Trump’s decimation of the Bears Ears is just the latest in a long string of insults he has lobbed toward Tribes, five of which worked diligently for years to ensure the protection of their cultural homeland.”

    ###

  • December 4th, 2017

    Following President Trump’s unlawful attempt to repeal Grand Staircase-Escalante and Bears Ears National Monuments, the federal public lands and significant cultural, paleontological and wilderness resources in those monuments will be left exposed to oil, gas and coal leasing and development, as well as the location and development of new hard rock mining claims (e.g. uranium).  The attached maps overlay the current monument boundaries, the significantly smaller monuments President Trump unlawfully designated, and mineral potential in both monuments.

    Contact: Stephen Bloch, 801-428-3981

  • November 30th, 2017

    FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

    Contact: Steve Bloch, 801-428-3981

    In response to reports in the Washington Post today that President Trump intends to eliminate 85% of Bears Ears National Monument and half of Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument, Southern Utah Wilderness Alliance Executive Director Scott Groene issued the following statement:

    “If President Trump chooses to act on the disgraceful work that is leaking out of the Department of Interior by shrinking Bears Ears and Grand Staircase Escalante National Monuments, it will not withstand its coming test in courts any more than it will withstand the judgement of history.”

    “The new boundaries reflected in the leaked reports are a decimation of two iconic landscapes and an insult to the tribes that advocated to protect Bears Ears. To slash these monuments at the behest of ideological extremists and dirty energy barons without regard to the consequences to the landscape or to the overwhelming consensus of millions of Americans who have voiced strong opposition to any changes to our national monuments would be the single most harmful attack any president has launched on public lands.”

    ###

  • October 26th, 2017

    A new Utah poll demonstrates, again, that while bold conservation is often controversial at inception, it becomes appreciated with time. But Utah’s politicians still haven’t learned. When significant landscapes are protected by executive orders, they pull the Chicken Little routine and shake their fists at the sky. History proves them wrong every time.

    And it’s happening all over again.

    A new Dan Jones poll shows Utahns 2-1 oppose Utah politicians’ efforts to break apart the Grand Staircase- Escalante National Monument. Twenty years ago, President Clinton was hung in effigy in Escalante for establishing the monument. Today, local businesses there and in Boulder are pleading with the Trump administration to leave it intact.

    Buttes along the Burr Trail, Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument. Copyright Jeff Foott

    As we’d expect, the poll shows less support for the nascent Bears Ears National Monument. This is probably due to the steady outpouring of flagrantly false claims made by Senator Hatch, Representative Bishop and others that the monument will somehow devastate local economies and harm school kids. Still, only half of Utahns have bought into the lies so far as to favor reducing the monument.

    Given time, the majority of Utahns will solidly celebrate Bears Ears as they do the Grand Staircase.

    And of course, these lands belong to all Americans, not just those of us living here in Utah.

    Bears Ears Buttes in Bears Ears National Monument. Copyright Jeff Foott

    These protections are good for America. There is no serious argument that we’d be better off today if the Grand Staircase-Escalante had been sacrificed to a coal mine—especially as the view from the Kaiparowits Plateau (where the coal diggers wanted to dig) already includes the 800-foot-tall smokestacks at the Navajo Generating Station, set to close in two years because burning coal is no longer economic.

    President Obama designated Bears Ears National Monument for the Tribes who have lived and used these lands since time immemorial, and it will be a great injustice if it is undone. Utah politicians will go down as standing far on the wrong side of history.

    Every time Americans have chosen to protect western landscapes, the decision has been recognized as wise, with the perspective of time, by citizens living both far from and near the affected lands. This week’s poll confirms that, again. Will Utah’s politicians ever learn?

  • October 19th, 2017

    A band of badgers confronted Utah state officials today about their efforts to turn federal public lands over to the state of Utah to own or manage.  “How can we trust the state with our public lands when they assert that badgers loot artifacts and deny that human driven climate change is damaging the health of our public lands and forests?” asked the badgers. “The answer is that we can’t.”

    A band of badgers confronts state officials at the Utah Legislature’s Commission for the Stewardship of Public Lands meeting.

    The badgers were referring to state legislator Mike Noel’s claim last year that badgers were to blame for digging up artifacts in the Bears Ears area. Noel asserted that “those little suckers are going down and digging up artifacts and sticking them in their holes.”

    Spokesperson Badger John cleared the name of badgers: “This is a falsehood.  Badgers do not loot archaeological sites, people do.”

    Badger John makes a statement at the commission meeting.

    The badgers also criticized the state for denying the deleterious effects of climate change on public lands and forests, pointing out that human-driven climate change is having real, measurable impacts every day that range from hotter, more intense wildfires to prolonged drought and multiple thousand-year storm events occurring over just a few years. “But the legislature and this commission refuse to recognize these indisputable truths,” lamented Badger John.

    Several commissioners said they cared about badgers, but continued to insist that federal public lands in Utah would be better managed by the state. The badgers wholeheartedly rejected that claim. Calling upon history, they noted that it was the failure of states to adequately steward America’s public lands that led to higher national standards in the first place.

    “When this commission asks people for trust while simultaneously spreading falsehoods and denying widely accepted science, it earns the mistrust of people and badgers everywhere,” they said.  “Leave Utah’s federal lands in America’s public hands.”

    The badgers traveled from their burrows in southern Utah to the State Capitol for the meeting of  the Commission for the Stewardship of Public Lands—a misnamed commission seeking ways to advance the transfer of federal lands to the state of Utah.

    SUWA is pleased to have badgers as allies in our fight to protect our public wild lands!