On December 4, 2017, President Trump signed a presidential proclamation significantly reducing the boundaries of Bears Ears National Monument. Originally designated by President Obama on December 28, 2016, Bears Ears National Monument is a 1.4 million acre landscape rich in remarkable natural and cultural resources. President Trump’s unlawful action reduced the Monument by 85%, splitting this intact landscape into two smaller management units (named Shash Jáa and Indian Creek). Despite legal challenges filed by Native American tribes, SUWA, and partner organizations over this unlawful use of Presidential authority, the BLM is nevertheless moving forward with creating new land use plans that reflect the diminished Monument boundaries.
Comments on the land use plans are due March 19, 2018, or 15 days after yet-unannounced public meetings—whichever is later. When writing you comments, please consider the following points:
- The proclamation reducing Bears Ears National Monument is unlawful and will be overturned by a court of law. The Antiquities Act only grants a president the authority to designate national monuments, not to revoke or diminish them.
- The BLM should abstain from management planning until a court has ruled on the legality of President Trump’s action. Rapidly moving forward with this planning effort is a waste of valuable agency resources that would be better spent addressing much-needed on-the-ground cultural and natural resource protection issues.
- Any interim actions planned within the original and legitimate Bears Ears National Monument boundary should only be done for the purpose of protecting Monument resources as set out in President Obama’s proclamation. Proclamation 9558 (December 28, 2016).
- In developing a management plan for the Shash Jáa and Indian Creek management units—and in order to ensure protection of cultural and natural resources—BLM must consider alternatives that permanently close Arch Canyon, Lavender Canyon, and Davis Canyon to motorized vehicle use.
- In order to ensure adequate public review and comment, the public comment period should be extended to 90 days after the last BLM or Forest Service public hearing.
- In addition to Bears Ears National Monument gateway communities, public hearings should also be held in Salt Lake City, Utah, Flagstaff, Arizona, Albuquerque, New Mexico, Denver, Colorado, and Washington, D.C.
Please consider all of these points as you make your comments, and make sure to add your own! Tell the Bureau of Land Management why you care about Bears Ears National Monument and to continue protecting all lands included in the original, legitimate Monument boundary.
Other ways to submit comments:
Comments on the Bears Ears National Monument planning process can also be submitted via the following:
By Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Attn: Field Office Manager
Monticello Field Office
Bureau of Land Management
P.O. Box 7
Monticello, UT 84535