Utah Residents Resist Zinke’s Public Lands Recommendations

On August 24th, Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke released a vague report about the remaining 21 national monuments under review. Details about reduction of acreage was not made public. Utah continues to wait for the details that will outline the fate of our precious Bears Ears and Grand Staircase-Escalante national monuments. During the wait, crowds of Utahns have and are expected to flood Representative Rob Bishop’s town halls demonstrating their discontent with the constant local attacks on invaluable public lands.
Zinke’s recommendations come after the Secretary received more than 2.8 million public comments– 98% urging their current and future protection. Stripping safeguards for these places is an unprecedented act in history and an insult to Native American tribes.Though Zinke vowed to keep the sites under public ownership, the Secretary has indicated drilling, mining and clearcutting will likely be allowed on the sites, copy-catting the administration’s overall favoritism of the fossil fuel industry.
In response, Sierra Club Utah Chapter Public Lands leader Wayne Hoskisson released the following statement:
“This administration constantly puts profits over people and the environment. It’s a true shame Trump’s team would rather benefit a few fossil fuel industry-insiders than valuing years of history representing diverse cultures, recreation spaces that bring billions of dollars to the American economy and the opportunity for future generations to enjoy places that actually help make America great.
“This lack of transparency by the administration is an insult to the Tribes and millions of Americans who offered public comment. Zinke continues to shut out these voices and is turning a review of our public lands into blatant disrespect of the American people. National Monuments are public lands. Hence, public opinion should be valued.”
“In Utah, we spent four years engaged in Representative Bishop’s Public Lands Initiative– his “grand bargain” to balance public land use in the state. Bishop failed miserably in considering the input of local Tribal leaders and the millions voicing their support for public lands. The Utah delegation is notorious for their attack on public lands and, like the Trump administration, continues to ignore the voices of their constituents.”

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