A Trump administration effort to expand the US supply of fossil fuels was underscored today when he announced a major reduction in the size of Bear Ears National Monument and Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monuments in Utah.
“Not only is this decision environmentally irresponsible, it defies public opinion. Ninety-eight % of the record breaking 2.8 million public comments to the US Department of the Interior asked the federal government to maintain or expand protections for these and the 25 other national monuments, including Katahdin Woods & Water, still under review by the Trump administration,” according to a press release issued by Environment Maine.
An effort by the Trump administration to expand the US supply of fossil fuels was emphasized today when he announced a huge reduction in the size of the above two referenced Monuments in Utah. James Cason, at the Department of the Interior, a/k/a “hatchet” man has assumed responsibility for reviewing pending decisions with “nationwide, regional or statewide import” according to an article, “Pillaging America’s Parks,” in the current issue of THE NATION.
The Department of the Interior is the largest landowner in this country and so it is in a lofty position to run the department like a business whose goal is to generate income through energy production according to the same article. And the Department under Cason, the assistant deputy Interior Secretary, has wasted no time in working to accomplish those goals while simultaneously reversing policies put into place by President Obama.
“With spectacular landscapes, abundant wildlife and places for families to explore the outdoors, our public lands are part of what makes Maine and all of America so great. It’s heartbreaking that President Trump is taking away needed protections for treasured public lands. Cutting two million acres combined from Bear Ears and Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monuments will open areas currently protected to mining, drilling and development. The president’s action will ravage pristine places, put wildlife in danger and jeopardize scientific and archaeological history including Native American sites,” wrote Jacqueline Guyot, of Environment Maine, in today’s press release.
“President Trump’s decision to severely shrink the national monuments in Utah is deeply troubling for the precedent he is setting. If he is allowed to undermine the process our country has for conserving its most special places, how can we know if any public lands are truly protected for the future?” wrote US Congresswoman Chellie Pingree (D) in a press release issued today by her office. “…….the review of national monuments by President Trump’s administration also been troubling for its lack of transparency. We still have yet to see compelling justifications for these decisions and it remains unclear if the President has this authority at all.”
(note: According to a noon news report on MPR, Trump does not have the authority to close down parks. Only the US Congress has the authority to do that.)