Reprinted with permission from Shareblue.com
Continuing his obsession with trying to undo everything President Barack Obama accomplished while in office, Donald Trump on Monday moved to radically reduce the size of Bears Ears National Monument in Utah.
In an anti-environmentalist maneuver that is overwhelmingly opposed by Native American tribal leaders in the region, Trump wants to reduce the size of the moment designation by nearly 90 percent.
Who’s happy about the radical shift? Businesses that want to use the protected land for profit by extracting oil and gas.
“The drillers, miners and frackers who were shut out by Bill Clinton and Barack Obama’s use of the Antiquities Act would have new leases on life,” CNN reports.
Trump’s unprecedented move to shrink a U.S. monument is certain to spark a protracted court case. Trump’s effort “could alter the course of American land conservation, possibly opening millions of protected public acres to oil and gas extraction, mining, logging and other commercial activities,” The New York Times reports.
Yvon Chouinard, founder and CEO of outdoor gear maker Patagonia, told CNN’s Bill Weir that he’s going to help fight against Trump and his “evil government.
CHOUINARD: Well, I think the only thing this administration understands is lawsuits.
WEIR: And the head of Patagonia says he’s ready for a long legal fight.
CHOUINARD: We’re losing this planet, and we have an evil government. And not just the federal government, but wacko politicians out of Utah and place. I mean, it’s evil. And I’m not going to stand back and just let evil win.
Chouinard will be part of a larger coalition, including the Navajo Nation, that vowed to challenge Trump’s decision in court.
“I think it’s a shame that only 4 percent of American lands are national parks. Costa Rica’s got 10 percent. Chile will now have way more parks than we have,” Chouinard says. “We need more, not less.”
Monuments are similar to U.S. national parks, which are created by acts of Congress, except that monuments are created by presidents via the Antiquities Act, a law that has been used by both parties for more than a century to protect millions of acres of federal land.
Trump now becomes the first president to basically try to un-protect monument land.