A Statement Regarding the Shrinking of our National Monuments

A Statement Regarding the Shrinking of our National Monuments
Bear's Ears National Monument.

As I am sure you already know, President Trump has taken it upon itself to shrink Bear’s Ear National Monument by 85% and Grand Staircase-Escalante by roughly 50% in the name of lesser restrictions and increasing development on public lands, but rest assured, the “development” that will ensue will be a land grab for oil and gas companies.  While the rest of the world embraces renewable energy due to the fact that the planet is nearing a tipping point regarding the irreversible effects of climate change, the Trump administration is hell bent on doing everything in its power to serve the fossil fuel industry.

A Brief Sequence of Events

It began with Trump leading the American public to believe that they can’t trust the news because if it didn’t fit his agenda is was deemed “fake news.”  This allowed the Trump administration to begin disputing facts and scientific evidence that the verdict is still out on climate change, even though 97% of climate scientists agree that climate change is being accelerated by man and the burning of fossil fuels.  Next, Trump puts the ex-CEO of Exxon Mobile, Rex Tillerson, as Secretary of State and a climate change denier as the head of the EPA in Scott Pruitt.  Then the EPA begins removing the words “climate change” from its website making its intentions clear.  Finally, Trump pulled the United States out of the Paris Agreement, which let the rest of the world know that the US intends to rely on fossil fuels regardless of the fact that the negative impacts of climate change affects us all.  And now, the Trump administration has begun its first step in stealing our public lands and opening them up for the benefit of the fossil fuel industry (the few) by shrinking Bear’s Ears and Grand Staircase National monuments despite strong opposition from the American people (the many).  In fact, when Secretary of the Interior, Ryan Zinke, asked the American people through a public comment period what they wanted, “98% of almost 3 million people said to leave the protections in place.”

As the US becomes a laggard by continuing to embrace what will become a dead technology and industry in our lifetime,the rest of the world moves forward.  Trump is not only threatening our status as a global leader, but climate change is a serious threat to our national security as more severe weather, such as drought, will undoubtedly lead to climate refugees with nowhere to go.  Who do you think they will blame for their plight?  Will it be the rest of the world doing its part in mitigating the risks associated with climate change and moving forward with the Paris Agreement, or the United States who showed a blatant disregard and increased oil and gas development?  The bottom line is that continuing to search for oil and gas when renewable energy is clearly the future is the equivalent of scouring the United States seeking a Blockbuster video store to rent a VHS tape when streaming platforms like Netflix exist.  It simply doesn’t make sense.

Grand Staircase. Photo Credit: BLM

Take Action

I can’t help but wonder what Theodore Roosevelt would think of the shrinking of National Monuments.  The famous President who inscribed “For the benefit and enjoyment of the people” at the entrance of Yellowstone National Park understood in the early 20th Century, that public lands were an asset to our nation and that our natural resource are finite.  Below is a quote that sums up Roosevelt’s sentiments:

“We have become great because of the lavish use of our resources. But the time has come to inquire seriously what will happen when our forests are gone, when the coal, the iron, the oil, and the gas are exhausted, when the soils have still further impoverished and washed into the streams, polluting the rivers, denuding the fields and obstructing navigation.”

If the time had come in the early 20th Century to begin acknowledging that our resources are finite, and that there are environmental implications associated with our development as a nation, then we should not be moving backwards by shrinking national monuments and developing oil and gas when better solutions exist.  Furthermore, the significance and importance of public lands only increases as our forests shrink to accommodate a growing population.

Our public lands are ours.  They cannot be taken from us, so if you disagree with this administration’s fossil fuel agenda and the shrinking of our public lands, it is critical that you let your elected officials know.  Outdoor Alliance has made it very easy for you to take action and contact your elected officials, which can be done by clicking HERE.

Please take action, and remember, we are many and they are few.  Protect what you love, protect public lands and act on climate.

Sincerely,

Rick Crawford

President, Emerger Strategies

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