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Arthur Frommer: A Cherished National Monument Was Just Reduced by 85%—is a National Park Next? | Frommer's Bureau of Land Management

A Cherished National Monument Was Just Reduced by 85%—Is a National Park Next?

On a recent trip to Utah, on which he was accompanied by Utah Sen. Orrin Hatch, President Donald Trump reduced the acreage of the Bears Ears National Monument by 85% and reduced the size of the Grand Staircase Escalante National Monument by half. For some idea of the scale of that reduction, the elimination of land from Bears Ears is equivalent to the size of the Grand Teton National Park.
From now on, the land eliminated from Bears Ears presumably will be leased to profit-making oil and gas companies, and the public will be forbidden from visiting.
Five Indian tribes, including the Navajo Nation and the Hopis, have now said they will go to court to seek an injunction forbidding this taking of their sacred grounds. They claim that only Congress can reduce the size of these lands.

So what's next? The Grand Canyon (perfect for oil drilling)? Yosemite National Park (direct access to natural gas)? Yellowstone National Park? The same reasoning that decimated the national monuments of Utah can now be used against these cherished American landmarks.

And millions of Americans are now fearful that the current president may do just that.
During a speech defending what he has done in Utah, the president also claimed that previous administrations—which presumably include those of Theodore Roosevelt, Franklin Roosevelt, Ronald Reagan, and George Bush—have given an overly broad meaning to the Antiquities Act, which created the Utah National Monuments. The act, which was first enacted during the presidency of Theodore Roosevelt, created 30 of the 50 most famous national parks.
In a scathing editorial refuting the current president's arguments, the Patagonia Company, which sells camping equipment and clothing for outdoor adventures, cited what it claims are numerous outright falsehoods in that speech. Patagonia's editorial should be read by every concerned citizen.

Only public pressure will prevent the continuing destruction of our public lands by Donald Trump. Now is the time to let your representatives in Congress know that they must prevent this shameful interference with our glorious national parks and monuments.