The BLM is accepting public comments on the Indian Creek and Shash Jaa’ units of Bears Ears National Monument until November 15, 2018. Please consider making the following points when submitting comments.
To submit comments online, visit https://p2a.co/TGrcoBU.
President Trump’s proclamation reducing Bears Ears National Monument (Proclamation 9681) 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.
SUWA believes the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) should abstain from management planning until a court has ruled on the legality of President Trump’s action.
However, the BLM and the U.S. Forest Service (USFS) are proceeding with management plans, and they need to hear from monument supporters like you.
Because the BLM and USFS are only planning for 15% of the original Bears Ears boundaries in the current process, the most protective management possible for the area must be applied. All management decisions considered under the current process must prioritize the protection of the resources the Monument was designated to protect.
Under the BLM and USFS’s current plan, cultural resources are left at risk. The BLM’s proposal to develop cultural resource monitoring and management strategies two years down the road is not sufficient. The BLM must proactively consult with interested Tribes to develop solutions to protect these resources before it is too late by committing to develop an interim approach that can be implemented as soon as the management plan is completed. The agencies must also work with the Tribes to develop a broader plan and ensure the process is meaningful and inclusive of Tribal interests, not just condensed into the Trump administration’s arbitrary one-year timeline. The BLM should stop prioritizing speed and begin prioritizing Tribal involvement.
In completing a final plan, BLM should focus on the following:
- BLM should manage for the protection of the entire Bears Ears landscape for cultural and paleontological resources — including ongoing inventory and management.
- The agency, in co-management with the interested Tribes, should maintain the option to close or reroute social trails when cultural resources are threatened, instead of relying primarily on educational principles for the public.
- The BLM should manage identified lands with wilderness characteristics for wilderness values, as this provides protection for cultural resources, paleontological resources, and other irreplaceable Monument objects.
- The BLM and USFS should consider one alternative that extends management for the entire Bears Ears National Monument boundaries, as outlined in President Obama’s 2016 proclamation. 85% of the original Bears Ears boundaries should not be left out through this planning process while the legality of Trump’s Proclamation is being challenged in court.