Despite broad public support from Native American tribes, business leaders, the outdoor recreation industry, conservationists, many elected officials and more than a million Americans from coast to coast, the Trump administration is recommending actions that could threaten the future of the Bears Ears National Monument in Utah. In a closed-to-the-public press call today, Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke outlined his recommendations to the president.
Most legal scholars are in agreement that the president lacks the legal authority to undermine protection efforts put in place by previous presidents through use of the Antiquities Act. If President Trump acts on these recommendations, The Wilderness Society will take all steps necessary to defend Bears Ears and the Antiquities Act against these attacks—including legal action.
The following statement is from Jamie Williams, president of The Wilderness Society:
“The Trump administration’s announcement today on Bears Ears is nothing less than an attack on the future of all American monuments, parks and public lands. The administration’s recommendations are directly against the wishes of the overwhelming majority of Americans - and also in direct conflict with the Antiquities Act and the Wilderness Act – making a mockery of the claimed public process and the good faith of these recommendations.
We stand in solidarity with the five tribal nations with ancestral ties to these lands, which are hallowed ground to many Native Americans. Bears Ears is the first national monument that was proposed and supported by a coalition of five sovereign tribal governments who want to end the looting, vandalism and grave-robbing that has plagued their ancestral lands for years. Substantially shrinking the boundaries, as today’s recommendations, would cut out many of these vital sacred sites and cultural resources, leaving them unprotected from the very destruction the monument is designed to prevent.
The announcement today dismisses these sovereign nations and millions of Americans who have taken action to support this hallowed ground. If carried out, these recommendations would shortchange current and future generations of Americans the opportunity to see an unspoiled and celebrated Bears Ears National Monument.”
Background, B-roll, Photos and Other Resources
Additional background, B-roll video and images of Bears Ears National Monument for media use.