This week, hard on the heels of Trump’s decision to withdraw the US from the Paris Agreement, and as many of us start to think about summer vacations, we ask that you submit written testimony in support of our national monuments and the Antiquities Act that establishes them. Whether Trump’s Executive Order, asking Interior Secretary Zinke to ‘review’ these national monuments was prompted by lavish contributions to him and the Republicans from the oil, gas and energy industries, or if it was motivated more by Trump’s apparent drive to undo anything done by President Obama — and it might be both — is not clear. What is clear is that this is yet another act by the Trump Administration and the Republicans to put corporate interests above those of the people. The people, though, are still resisting — Hudson Valley Strong members, for example, were out in force on June 3rd, from Hudson to New York City speaking, marching and protesting.
Protect Our National Monuments – Submit Comments to the Dept. of the Interior
Thank you to Center for American Progress, NRDC, and The Pew Charitable Advocates for their work on this issue.
Often called ‘America’s Best Idea,’ US regulations and practices setting aside public lands for national parks, national monuments, wilderness and waters have been widely admired and globally imitated. Presidents from both parties have protected public lands from the remote Pacific to Cape Cod. National monuments protect our environmental and cultural heritage, and they’re also good for our economy. Outdoor recreation generates billions of dollars and millions of jobs every year. In 2016, National Parks saw a record 331 million visits, contributing almost $35 billion to the U.S. economy.
On April 26, President Trump issued an executive order that calls on Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke to ‘review’ the 54 national monuments that presidents have designated or expanded since 1996 using the Antiquities Act. Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke is directed to recommend actions that alter or rescind these monuments’ protections, and to open them to for-profit, private industrial development. Specific targets seem to be the Bears Ears and Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monuments in Utah, due to their extractive potential. Others at risk include the Northeast Canyons and Seamounts Marine National Monument off Cape Cod.
Submit Comments via The Pew Charitable Trust’s Advocacy Page
The Interior Department is required to take testimony from the public until July 10, 2017. An easy way to submit your testimony is through the The Pew Charitable Trust’s Advocacy web tool for this issue. Their tool will automatically post your comments directly (not bundled) to the Interior Department Docket file for this issue. It provides a template, including sample text, which you can customize. Per the advice from the Center for American Progress, it is optimal to “mention a specific monument that you care about or that’s in your state” or share some other personal story about why the national parks and monuments are important to you.
Sample Written Comment
Dear Secretary Zinke,
I am outraged that President Trump is considering rolling back the Antiquities Act and stripping protections from some of our recently established national monuments, including Bears Ears, Grand Staircase-Escalante and the Northeast Canyons and Seamounts.
I ask that you fulfill the mission of your agency by protecting America’s public lands and maintaining the integrity of these monuments and of the Antiquities Act itself.
National monuments protect our environmental and cultural heritage, provide the American people with rest, relaxation and the enjoyment of our country’s resources. More and more people are using these areas each year — my family is among them. The concept of national parks, wilderness and national monuments a US innovation admired and imitated by the whole world.
I personally am grateful for the many memories and experiences that my family has had in (name specific area/areas) (share a specific experience).
National monuments are also good for the economy, locally and nationally. Outdoor recreation generates billions of dollars and millions of jobs every year. In 2016, National Parks saw a record 331 million visits, contributing almost $35 billion to the U.S. economy.
I am against President Trump’s attempt to roll back national monument protections, which would serve private corporate interests, not those of American families.
[your name] [your town/zip]
America’s Best Idea = natl parks, natl monuments @RyanZinke protect our treasures for all US. Don’t sell our heritage to highest bidder.