Incoming Biden Administration Should Reverse Illegal Monument Rollbacks
The third anniversary of the illegal rollback of the Bears Ears and Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monuments — the largest such move in U.S. history — highlights the need for the incoming Biden Administration to work with Tribes to restore the monuments and chart a more collaborative relationship going forward.
“The Trump Administration’s refusal to work with Tribal communities in protecting these lands was a travesty,” said Arthur “Butch” Blazer, National Wildlife Federation board member and past president of the Mescalero Apache Tribe. “America’s national monuments help tell and preserve the stories of all people who have lived on these lands. By decimating these monuments, the administration clearly prioritized corporate interests over the interests of Indigenous people, hunters, anglers and all who have cherished exploring these red rock canyons.”
With the stroke of a pen, President Trump reduced the size of Bears Ears and Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monuments by more than 2 million acres and abundant wildlife populations, stunning landscapes, and thousands of archaeological sites were opened up to mineral, oil, and gas development.
“America’s public lands are the envy of the world. Slashing protections on the ancestral lands of the Navajo, Hopi, Ute, Ute Mountain Ute, and Zuni has threatened irreplaceable cultural artifacts, imperiled wildlife species, and local economies,” said Collin O’Mara, president and CEO of the National Wildlife Federation. “The National Wildlife Federation looks forward to working with the Biden-Harris administration to right this wrong and restore protection for Bears Ears and Grand Staircase-Escalante.”
Bears Ears National Monument and Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument are home to abundant wildlife populations of bighorn sheep, black bears, bobcats, elk, and mule deer. The monuments also contain some of the highest concentrations of archaeological sites in the country.
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