Don’t Let Them Take It Away


Categories:

On April 26, Trump signed an Executive Order that set in to motion something that is nothing short of a land grab. What the current administration is seeking to do is take away lands from the American people and make them available to private corporate interests.

Hundreds of thousands of you already commented in support of keeping the Bears Ears National Monument as is. It was an incredible outpouring of support. Secretary Zinke chose not to listen and recommended to shrink the Bears Ears National Monument. We need to shout even louder. Use the information to the right to send a comment to Secretary Zinke.

For many years, people worked hard for the establishment of the Bears Ears National Monument. Local Utahans – tribes, conservationists, scientists, outdoor enthusiasts – came together in the common interest of protecting their land and resources.

The process to create Bears Ears was not quick and easy. Even though most of the Bears Ears area already was held by the federal government, the process of designating Bears Ears was locally-driven. Years of study, cultural site mapping, consideration, and meetings with stakeholders were required for the Bears Ears National Monument Designation last year. Why go to all that trouble?

A national monument protects existing rights. That means that the designation would protect the tribes who use the area for gathering medicines and ceremonies, it would protect the ranchers who already had leases to graze in the area, and it would protect the roads and infrastructure that already were in place. The local citizens who petitioned for the Bears Ears National Monument wanted to ensure that this level of access was permanently protected.

There was, and is, the threat of future mining or drilling. These citizens knew that the Bears Ears area had much more value than anything that could be extracted, mined, or stolen away. They wanted to be sure that the area would always be available to the American people. That could all be lost.

Also, they also wanted to protect the area from vandals and looting. In the first six months of 2016, there were several confirmed instances of looting, including sawing off a petroglyph and digging up a kiva (underground ceremonial chamber). There were only two law enforcement agents assigned to more than 1.8 million acres. This valuable natural and cultural resource needed protecting. This situation was exactly why the Antiquities Act was created.

The Obama administration sought to represent all stakeholders in the designation of Bears Ears. The administration did not include as much acreage as was initially sought, but it encompassed many of the most valuable historic sites and landscapes. The administration made sure that the Bears Ears area would be available and intact for generations to come.

Now the Trump administration, to benefit corporations over people, is threatening to take away what we fought so hard to create. We need your support now to stand firm against this federal overreach. The American people worked long and hard to establish the Bears Ears National Monument. Don’t let this administration and corporate special interests take away those hard-won protections so that the people’s land can be used to enrich the pockets of private corporate interests. Once they take Bears Ears, what will they take next?

The Native American Rights Fund represents the Hopi Tribe, Pueblo of Zuni, and Ute Mountain Ute Tribe and will fight to protect the Bears Ears National Monument.

Take Action Now

Between now and July 9 you can submit comments on Bears Ears and other national monuments. Let them know that we want to keep these national treasures as is.

To submit comments online. Click the Take Action Now button above, then click on Comment Now in the top-right corner.

If you would prefer, you can submit a written comment to Secretary Zinke by mail at:

Monument Review, MS-1530
U.S. Department of the Interior
1849 C Street NW
Washington, DC 20240

For all of the comments, it is best if you write your own reasons that you want to protect Bears Ears National Monument. However, we also have created a template letter that you can edit and submit.

Tips on how to best write a comment:

  • You may comment on any part or the whole regulation.
  • Base your justification on sound reasoning, scientific evidence, and/or how you will be impacted.
  • Address trade-offs and opposing views in your comment.
  • There is no minimum or maximum length for an effective comment.
  • The comment process is not a vote–one well supported comment can be more influential than a thousand form letters.
  • Do not feel obligated to comment on every issue–select those issues that concern and affect you the most and/or you understand the best.