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Last week, Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke came to Utah to “review” Bears Ears and Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monuments — and SUWA supporters were on the ground to meet him in force.
The day before he arrived, more than 3,000 people rallied at the State Capitol in Salt Lake City to show their support for Utah’s wild lands and monuments. More than 500 showed up the next day at the BLM offices while Sec. Zinke held a perfunctory meeting with tribes. And when he showed up at Butler Wash Ruin in the middle of Bears Ears National Monument, nearly 70 supporters were on hand with signs and banners urging him to leave our monuments alone. An additional 300 people rallied the next day in Kanab to show their support for Grand Staircase-Escalante.
But even though Sec. Zinke has left the state, we can’t let up — we need to bring the message directly to him and to President Trump to leave our monuments alone. That’s why SUWA is running full page ads today in both The New York Times and The Washington Post.
Click on the image above to see the ad in full (opens in PDF).
Although Zinke’s “listening tour” was decidedly one-sided, we’re not going to leave anything on the field in our efforts to protect our monuments — and to convince President Trump and Ryan Zinke to ignore the caterwauling of Utah politicians and leave Bears Ears and Grand Staircase intact.
We rely on your continued support to keep up this fight — on the ground, in the courts, and in the media.
Thank you for standing up for the redrock.
Also, if you haven’t already done so, please submit your public comment to Sec. Zinke about Bears Ears! The comment period ends a week from today! SUWA.org/comment
President Trump has declared war on Utah’s national monuments. Now is the time to act.
President Trump’s April 26th Executive Order requires a “review” of national monuments dating back to 1996. This bureaucratic speak hides the administration’s real intention: dismantling the protections put in place for our nation’s most treasured public lands. Included in the review are dozens of monuments across the country, but the bookends of the timeline are Utah’s Grand Staircase-Escalante and Bears Ears National Monuments, making it clear that they are the prime targets.
The Department of Interior is now accepting comments to gauge public support for these monuments.
Help us save Utah’s monuments! Please click here to submit your comments and we’ll deliver them to the Department of Interior. We are collecting comments ourselves so we can ensure an accurate accounting of supportive comments to add to national totals.
Utah has been under siege from politicians hostile to protecting its wilderness for decades, but this action marks the most sweeping threat to the preservation of Utah’s protected wildlands. What’s worse, the Bears Ears comment period is a mere 15 days, meaning we need everyone to act quickly.
It’s important that comments be in your own words—the Department of Interior will count them individually that way. But to help you gather your thoughts, let us remind you of what’s at stake.
• Bears Ears National Monument was a significant achievement. President Obama protected the 1.3 million-acre monument in December at the urging of a historic coalition of five Tribes that had come together to advocate for its protection.
• It is the first national monument to include traditional knowledge as an object worthy of protection in the monument proclamation. And every inch of Bears Ears is necessary to preserve the more than 100,000 archaeological sites therein.
• Bears Ears must never be shrunk nor repealed. If anything, the monument is not big enough. The Tribes had requested almost 600,000 more acres for protection. The whole tribal proposal should have been made a monument.
• It is a remarkable wilderness landscape. Beyond the monument’s namesake twin buttes are world-renowned wilderness treasures like White Canyon, Indian Creek, and Comb Ridge. Myriad plant and animal species thrive in its varied habitats. And you’d be hard pressed to find the solitude provided by these areas elsewhere else in the lower 48.
• Grand Staircase-Escalante was designated in 1996. Since then, it has come to be known as the “Science Monument”—yielding several new species of dinosaur and other paleontological finds and providing habitat for 650 bee species, many that are endemic to the area.
• Grand Staircase-Escalante has incredible camping, hiking and other recreational opportunities. Places like Calf Creek, Peekaboo and Spooky Canyon, Coyote Gulch, and the Hole in the Rock Road are known the world over. If you have your own favorites, be sure to mention them!
• Polling shows more than half of Utahns want Grand Staircase-Escalante left alone. That’s added to the more than 80 percent of Westerners that the Colorado College Conservation in the West poll showed want existing national monuments left intact.
• Reviewing any monument is a political act, but especially when it involves one that is more than two decades old and flourishing. No president has ever taken this needless step, and neither should President Trump.
Please consider all of these points as you make your comments, and make sure to add your own! Tell the Department of Interior what makes these monuments so special.
We know this will take more time than usual, but it’s extremely important. Tell Secretary Zinke and President Trump that Bears Ears and Grand Staircase-Escalante are here to stay!
Thank you for all you do. We can’t do this without you.
Great news! Sen. Richard Durbin (D-IL) last week reintroduced America’s Red Rock Wilderness Act (S. 948) in the Senate. The bill would permanently protect 9.2 million acres of Utah’s amazing wilderness—places like Labyrinth Canyon, the Dirty Devil, the San Rafael Swell, and the West Desert, ensuring that they remain wild for future generations of Americans.
He was joined by 18 original cosponsors from 13 states, underscoring the importance of these remaining wild landscapes to the American people. The other champions are: Sen. Tammy Baldwin (D-WI), Sen. Michael Bennett (D-CO), Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), Sen. Cory Booker (D-NJ), Sen. Al Franken (D-MN), Sen. Martin Heinrich (D-NM), Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-VT), Sen. Edward Markey (D-MA), Sen. Bob Menendez (D-NJ), Sen. Jeff Merkley (D-OR), Sen. Chris Murphy (D-CT), Sen. Gary Peters (D-MI), Sen. Jack Reed (D-RI), Sen. Brian Schatz (D-HI), Sen. Debbie Stabenow (D-MI), Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI), and Sen. Chris Van Hollen (D-MD).
President Trump has declared an all-out assault on Utah’s public lands, last week signing an order that could lead to the repeal of both Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument and Bears Ears National Monument. We need our congressional champions to stand up for Utah now more than ever.
If your senator isn’t on the list yet, please click here to ask them to cosponsor America’s Red Rock Wilderness Act. And remember, you have two senators so you may need to thank one and ask the other!
To double the impact, call your senators as well through the capitol switchboard at (202) 224-3121.
There has never been a more urgent time for the redrock wilderness. We need your help to save it.
They’re coming for your national monuments.
This morning, President Trump signed an executive order directing Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke to “review” Bears Ears National Monument within 45 days, and to make a recommendation on all other monuments going back to the designation of Grand Staircase-Escalante in 1996.
That this review is a sham is beyond doubt. During the signing ceremony, Trump repeatedly mentioned Bears Ears, saying it “never should have been done.” And the White House advisory on the executive order specifically calls out Bears Ears and Grand Staircase-Escalante as “two examples of modern abuses of the Antiquities Act.”
In short, Utah’s redrock wilderness is ground zero in Trump’s war on the American West.
Can you send a tweet right now to Secretary Ryan Zinke and tell him to leave Grand Staircase and Bears Ears alone?
Here’s a sample tweet:
.@SecretaryZinke please #StandwithBearsEars and leave #grandstaircase intact. #Keepitpublic #monumentsforall
Or call the Secretary’s office directly at 202-208-7351 or be patched through on your cell phone by clicking here.
Every call and tweet makes a difference. We need to show Sec. Zinke that the American public is opposed to his attempts to undo decades of conservation victories.
It’s clear that at Bears Ears the president wants Secretary Zinke to manufacture the political cover for his administration to break the government’s promise to Native American Tribes to protect and preserve their ancestral homeland.
And it’s equally clear that at Grand Staircase the president is seeking to reward his Big Coal backers at the expense of one of the nation’s wildest and most dramatic redrock landscapes.
SUWA is going to do everything in our power to stop President Trump from giving away our national monuments to developers and drillers. Now is the time for all of us to speak up in defense of the redrock.
Thank you for taking action.
Great news! America’s Red Rock Wilderness Act, the bill to protect 9.2 million acres of Utah’s stunning BLM wilderness lands, has been reintroduced in the House by Rep. Alan Lowenthal (CA-47). The bill number is H.R. 2044. We expect the Senate companion bill will be introduced within a month.
Lowenthal was joined by 30 cosponsors from 17 states, underscoring how important it is to protect these lands on behalf of all Americans. The complete list is:
Sanford D. Bishop, Jr. (GA-02), Earl Blumenauer (OR-03), Brendan F. Boyle (PA-13), Matt Cartwright (PA-17), John Conyers, Jr. (MI-13), Diana DeGette (CO-01), Suzan DelBene (WA-01), Anna G. Eshoo (CA-18), Dwight Evans (PA-02), Bill Foster (IL-11), Josh Gottheimer (NJ-05), Raúl M. Grijalva (AZ-03), Jared Huffman (CA-02), Sheila Jackson Lee (TX-18), Ro Khanna (CA-17), Brenda L. Lawrence (MI-14), Daniel Lipinski (IL-03), Jerry McNerney (CA-09), Gwen Moore (WI-4), Donald M. Payne, Jr. (NJ-10), Mark Pocan (WI-02), Tim Ryan (OH-13), Jan Schakowsky (IL-9), Jackie Speier (CA-14), Eric Swalwell (CA-15), Niki Tsongas (MA-03), Tim Walz (MN-01), Bonnie Watson Coleman (NJ-12), Peter Welch (VT-AL), and John Yarmuth (KY-03).
If your representative is on this list, click here to thank them. You can also thank them on social media—just make sure to let them know you’re a constituent and where you’re from!
“These national treasures are our birthright as Americans, and are a bedrock part of who we are as a people,” Lowenthal said. “My bill will safeguard these wild and precious lands, as well as the waters, flora, and fauna within them. This is in keeping with the powerful American ethos of conservation as embodied by John Muir, Theodore Roosevelt, Olaus and Mardy Murie, Aldo Leopold and so many other champions of our great wild places.”
We are glad to have a champion like Lowenthal join their ranks. Please help us build cosponsors by acting now.