Update: The Fight To Keep Trumps Tiny Hands Off Our Public Lands

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On Dec. 4, President Trump signed a proclaimation to severely reduce and fracture the overall size of Bears Ears National Monument more than 84 percent, from 1.35 million acres to 201,397 acres, and Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument by 50 percent, from nearly 1.9 million acres to 997,490 acres. Over 2 million acres of public lands will lose protection, making this the biggest attack on public lands in history. But the fight is far from over as lawsuits loom to fight for our public lands. 

Tribes, Conservationists, and Businesses take action

Representatives from the Hopi, Zuni, Ute Mountain Ute, the Navajo Nation and the Ute Indian tribes, collectively known as the Bears Ears Inter-Tribal Coalition, filed the first suit on the grounds that Trump has exceeded the authority delegated to his office and violated the antiquities act with the decision to shrink the Bears Ears monument (you can support the Bears Ears Inter-Tribal Coalition here).

The Sierra Club, The Wilderness Society, The National Resource Defense Council, and the Utah Wilderness Alliance, along with other environmental groups have filed a suit over Trump's action on Grand Staircase-Escalante calling the presidents proclamation "an illegal attack on public lands."

And, a number of outdoor retailers including Patagonia, and REI have also taken a stand against the decimation of public lands. On Monday, Patagonia blacked out their retail website with the message "The President Stole Your Land" The company's president Rose Marcario told reporters the company would continue the fight in courts. 

Similarly, REI said it would continue to pursue bipartisan support to protect public lands and “prevent death by a thousand cuts.”

The Battle Doesn't Stop In Utah

Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke included plans to shrink and modify 10 more National Monuments citing abuse of the Antiquities Act with Monument designations  "extending far beyond the objects they were designed to protect." and claiming some of the objects defined in past proclamations, such as "Stars, biological diversity, remoteness, emptiness.” to be too abstract. However, Zinke's own reasoning for modifying management of certain National Monuments are vague in themselves. For example, Zinke recommends amendments to ensure grazing rights in areas where grazing is already allowed, with a permit. (See below for a list of groups where you can learn more about specific National Monuments and how to get involved in shaping future use).

It's not just National Monuments 

While we were out catching first chair on Saturday, Senate Republicans "narrowly passed a controversial tax bill which — aside from overwhelmingly benefiting the rich — will open up 1.5-million acres of the pristine, 20-million-acre Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR) for oil and gas drilling." according to Grist.org. The Arctic National Wildlife Refuge is hopeto thousands of species of birds, arctic foxes, caribou, and polar bears - as well as the Native Alaskan Gwich’in tribe, which relies on the land for subsistence.

Take Action

Support the Bears Ears Inter-Tribal Coalition

Support the Defenders of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge

Call your elected officials and tell them you oppose this decision.

Speak a language Trump can understand. Tweet him, and other elected officials.

Support Friends of Cedar Mesa in building the Bears Ears Education Center. Check out their Kickstarter here.

Check out (and support) these groups for more information on preservation of Public Lands

Grand Staircase Escalante Partners

Soda Mountain Wilderness Council

Friends of Cascade-Siskiyou National Monument

Friends of Organ Mountains-Desert Peaks

Friends of Basin and RangeAccess Fund

Friends of Katahdin Woods and Waters

Friends of Cedar MesaUtah Diné Bikéyah

Friends of Gold Butte

Alaska Wilderness League

Native American Rights Fund

Northeastern Minnesotans for Wilderness

Wild Salmon Center

Salmon State Initiative

Conservation Lands Foundation

Grand Canyon Trust

Gwich’in Steering Committee

We must resist the destruction of our wild and sacred places.