Trump undoes Obama’s land grab in Utah

Oh dear, progressives are apoplectic again: In an unprecedented action, Trump dramatically shrinks two national monuments in Utah ~

“You know how best to take care of your land,” the president said to a large audience at the Utah state Capitol. “You know best how to conserve this land for generations.”
Calling the designation of Bears Ears and Grand Staircase-Escalante national monuments an abuse of federal authority and the work of “distant bureaucrats,” the president added: “I’ve come to Utah to reverse federal overreach and restore the rights to this land to your citizens.”


No wonder the Left is distraught, “federal overreach” is a key plank in the Democrat party platform. And “unprecedented action” was exactly what Barack Obama engaged in last year with one foot out the White House door. Taking advantage of the Antiquities Act (which Teddy Roosevelt signed into law in 1906 to help prevent the looting of archaeological and Native American structures and objects) to cater to special interest groups, he arbitrarily grabbed nearly 2 million acres in Utah to create Bears Ears National Monument. (His Democrat predecessor, Bill Clinton, did the same in 1996 with the Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument.)

Were it up to the Left, the Federal government – like communists the
world over – would own every acre of the country.


President Trump’s action is based on Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke’s recommendation to give most of the land back to Utahans ~

The proclamations Trump signed reduce the 1.9 million-acre Grand Staircase-Escalante monument to 1,006,341 acres, while Bears Ears, which was 1.35 million acres, will shrink to 228,784 acres.

With typical progressive hyperbole, Rhea Suh, president of the Natural Resources Defense Council, said the president’s action was a disgrace ~

Suh called it “a travesty” that Trump was “trying to unravel a century’s worth of conservation history — all behind closed doors,” adding: “The American people want these special places protected.”

Suh is being more than a little disingenuous. First of all, it was hardly “behind closed doors.” The Interior Secretary spent months visiting various national monuments, getting input from those directly impacted by the land designations. Further, while the American people do want these places protected, there’s no reason that can’t be accomplished at the local level.
At a rally on Saturday, December 2nd, Bruce Adams, a commissioner of San Juan County (where Bears Ears is located) had this to say about local sentiment ~

The Administration was very, very intent on listening to local voices when talking about the Monument. I couldn’t more happy than to hear those words from the Administration, that they were wanting to listen to the local voices… There were so many NGO’s and so many organizations that have big money from all over the United States that wanted to influence the designation of that monument, that it just blew it completely out of proportion.


Once again, it’s been the people vs. the propaganda. As Marjorie Haun at Free Range Report explained ~

Trump’s decision comes after about eight months of careful consideration by Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke, who was tasked with reviewing all national monuments created by presidents using the Antiquities Act since 1996.
Bears Ears (1.4 million acres), created by Obama on December 28, 2016, and the Grand Staircase-Escalante (1.9 million acres), created by Clinton in a nod to green donors and Indonesian friends with clean coal interests in 1996, have been by far the most controversial and bitterly disputed.
Strong opposition from the locals living in communities impacted by the massive monuments have had a significant impact on Zinke’s assessment. And, the same locals believe the President’s Monday announcement will bring them much-needed relief from the economic hardships which have accompanied these restrictive federal designations.

Rebecca Benally, a Navajo and another commissioner of San Juan County is certainly grateful for the president’s reversal of the monument designation ~

“When Bears Ears was designated, it was disheartening for my community. It was insulting that bureaucrats thousands of miles away didn’t believe we were capable of protecting our land.”


There is no compelling reason why the federal government should control so much land in Utah (- or any other western state for that matter. Look at that map again!). President Trump did the right thing in returning this land to Utahans. Conservation, and responsible stewardship of the area can and should be done at a state and local level.
Bears Ears Country ~ This site takes a fair-minded look at both sides of the monument issue.
The Latest: Trump’s cuts to Utah monument spur lawsuit ~ Less than 24 hours after Trump’s announcement, the lawfare had begun
Now is the time to exempt Utah from Antiquities Act overreach ~ Interesting. States can preemptively remove themselves from the Antiquities Act – just in case another Obama lands in the White House.
Patagonia, progressive PR firm exploit child actor to pose as defender of monuments

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