FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
December 4, 2017
STATEMENT: Friends of Gold Butte Responds to Reductions to Bears Ears and Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monuments
LAS VEGAS – In response to the President’s action to strip protections from Bears Ears National Monument and Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument in Utah, Jaina Moan of the Friends of Gold Butte released the following statement in response:
“We are disappointed and angry at the news that President Trump has illegally reduced the boundaries of Grand Staircase-Escalante and Bears Ears National Monuments in Utah. The President’s action today removed protections from our treasured public lands and ignored the desire of almost 2.7 million Americans who asked that monument designations stay in place. It is a shameful act and a sad day for America’s antiquities.
With this announcement, we remain in limbo over the fate of Gold Butte National Monument. Nevadans fought for decades to achieve a protected designation for the natural and cultural resources in Gold Butte. Any reductions to the Gold Butte National Monument made through an Executive Order would be illegal. The President does not have the authority to modify boundaries and we are ready to challenge this matter in court if necessary.
The Bears Ears National Monument contains a deep, rich historical record and is a sacred landscape for many tribes. The Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument was created over 20 years ago to preserve archeological and paleontological resources that are found no place else on Earth. Both places needed and deserved national monument designations.
National monuments are part of our collective American heritage. They preserve our history and cultural diversity. Monuments are good for local economies. And importantly, they ensure that lands will be open and accessible for all of us to experience and enjoy now and in the future.”
ABOUT THE MONUMENTS REVIEW: Earlier this year, President Trump and Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke announced an executive order directing the Department of the Interior to review public lands that have been protected under the Antiquities Act since 1996. Nevada’s National Monuments, Gold Butte and Basin & Range, are part of this review. Nationally, more than 2.7 million comments (more than 90,000 on Gold Butte and Basin & Range specifically) poured in during the Interior Department’s 60-day comment period – a record-breaking response. More than 98 percent of all comments received expressed support for maintaining or expanding national monuments.