Halt corporate mining industries from destroying sacred native lands

President Trump lashed out at America’s conservation history and the growing movement for Native American tribal sovereignty with his pair of “repeal and replace” proclamations revoking the Bears Ears and Grand Staircase Escalante National Monuments in southern Utah.

Bears Ears was designated by President Obama in December 2016. He acted at the request of five Native American tribal governments to protect natural and cultural values in the Bears Ears area of southeastern Utah. Trump is seeking to repeal Bears Ears and replace it with two smaller monuments covering only 15 percent of the land area Obama protected.

Grand Staircase Escalante lies to the northwest of Bears Ears and was designated by President Clinton 20 years ago. Trump’s action would eliminate 43 percent of the monument apparently to open the way for a massive coal mine.

Trump traveled to Utah in early December at the request of the Utah congressional delegation that is staunchly opposed to the monuments and wants to see management authority over U.S. public lands transferred to Utah state and county governments. Utah congressional representatives have introduced legislation to codify Trump’s actions.

U.S. Rep. Darin LaHood, R-Peoria, will get an early opportunity to declare himself on the two bills before Congress by virtue of his seat on the House Natural Resources Committee. The first bill to come up is HR 4558, the inaccurately named Grand Staircase Escalante Enhancement Act.

Those supporting the conservation and tribal interests of these monuments can call Rep. LaHood at 309-671-7027 and ask him to oppose HR 4558 and support the original Bears Ears and Grand Staircase Escalante National Monuments.

Clayton Daughenbaugh,
Berwyn, IL

Mr. Daughenbaugh is the Midwest representative for the Southern Utah Wilderness Alliance, www.suwa.org, which advocates for the protection of wilderness lands in southern Utah. SUWA issued a statement calling Trump’s action on Bear’s Ears and Grand Staircase Escalante an illegal move taking two million acres of public land belonging to all Americans and prioritizing grazing, hunting, mining and destructive recreation over conservation. SUWA urges the public to contact members of Congress to halt the move.

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