On December 4, 2017, President Trump signed a proclamation that significantly reduced the boundaries of Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument, which enjoyed its twentieth anniversary as a Monument in 2016. The proclamation reduced the boundaries of Grand Staircase-Escalante by almost half, and split it into three separate management units. Despite legal challenges filed by SUWA and partner organizations over this unlawful use of presidential authority, the BLM is 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 public meetings (which have yet to be announced)—whichever is later. When writing your comments, please consider the following points:
- The proclamation reducing the Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument boundary is, first and foremost, an unlawful action that will ultimately be overturned by a court of law. Under the Antiquities Act, the President only has the authority to create a national monument, and only Congress can revoke or reduce the boundaries of an existing monument.
- 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.
- Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument was designated in 1996, with its primary purpose to protect the incredible scientific, ecological, and paleontological resources within its 1.9 million acres. Any interim actions within the original and legitimate Monument boundary should only be done for the purpose of protecting Monument resources as set out in the original proclamation.
- BLM’s 1999 Monument management plan was the result of a deliberate and collaborative process that involved scientific scrutiny and intense public participation. Any interim actions within the original and legitimate Monument boundary must comply with the 1999 management plan.
- All motorized travel routes within the original Monument boundary that were closed or limited under the 1999 Monument management must continue to be managed pursuant to the management plan. For example, the Paria River—a fragile riparian corridor within a Wilderness Study Area that was purposely excluded from President Trump’s monument boundaries in order to facilitate ATV use—must remain closed to all motorized vehicles.
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 Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument and to continue protecting all of the lands set aside for preservation over twenty years ago.
Other ways to submit comments:
Comments on the Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument planning process can also be submitted via the following:
By Email: BLM_UT_CCD_monuments@blm.gov
Attn: Monument Manager
Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument
Bureau of Land Management
669 South Highway 89A
Kanab, UT 84741