Keeping Our Lands Public
During his term, President Barack Obama created 14 new national monuments, sending a message that Americans value our country’s history and natural beauty.
But when Donald Trump came into office, he proposed erasing Obama’s efforts to protect these monuments.
Whereas former presidents advanced protections for our natural and cultural heritage, Trump took these protections backwards, to a world where natural lands are valued based on how much corporate profit they can rake in.
Alongside Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke, Trump announced a shocking plan to reduce national monuments in size and open them up to destructive mining and oil drilling. They began the process by reviewing Western U.S. monuments and sites created since 1996 that are over 100,000 acres in size for reduction or elimination.
Thankfully, this plan to hand our public lands over to Big Oil hasn’t gone unnoticed. Nationwide outrage followed announcement of the review. Zinke was met by protesters every step of the way as he toured the nation to visit the monuments on his list.
And concerned citizens didn’t stop there—Friends of the Earth members spoke up and sent in more than 300,000 comments condemning the monument review.
Thanks to Friends of the Earth members voicing their opinions, three national monuments have been taken off the chopping block. Idaho’s Craters of the Moon, Colorado’s Canyons of the Ancients, and Washington’s Hanford Reach have been removed from Interior’s list of monuments to review.
Yet many more national monuments are still at risk. Trump’s administration has already opened 2 million acres of public lands in Bears Ears and Grand Staircase-Escalante national monuments to Big Oil, and dozens of more monuments are at risk of exploitation and destruction.