SUWA Statement on 7.19.23 House Appropriations Committee Mark-up of the 2024 Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies Bill
July 18, 2023
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Travis Hammill, DC Director, Southern Utah Wilderness Alliance (SUWA); (202-266-0472) (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Salt Lake City, UT – SUWA DC Director Travis Hamill issued the following statement prior to the Wednesday, July 19, 2023 House Appropriations Committee Mark-up of the FY 2024 Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies Bill.
“Section 471 of the House appropriations bill would be deeply harmful to Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument. Mining and oil and gas exploration would be allowed in areas of immense historic value, in sensitive desert ecosystems, and on hundreds of thousands of acres of land currently off limits to extractive use. Grand Staircase-Escalante is beloved by locals and visitors; they come to see magnificent landscapes, not harmful fossil fuel development and pollution. This provision is detrimental to the long-term health and management of the national monument and must be stricken from the bill.”
Section 471 of the bill would prohibit the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) from managing Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument pursuant to Proclamation 10286, President Biden’s October 8, 2021 restoration of the monument’s full boundaries as originally established by President Clinton. Instead, the BLM would be required to manage the 1.9 million-acre monument pursuant to a Trump-era management plan that was finalized after Trump unlawfully reduced the monument by roughly 900,000 acres (almost 50% of its originally designated size).
Grand Staircase-Escalante was the first monument managed by the BLM to specifically prioritize the conservation of cultural, ecological, and scientific values, and it is now world-renowned for its remarkable paleontological discoveries, stunning scenery, and outstanding intact and diverse natural ecosystems. The Trump-era management plan is inconsistent with the Biden proclamation and, if implemented, would result in damage and destruction to the monument.
Section 471 could also prohibit the BLM from spending funds to complete the new monument management plan it is currently preparing. At a minimum, even if the BLM completed the new plan this legislation would require that the agency actually manage the monument pursuant to the Trump-era plan.