Shrinks 2,000,000 acres of Bears Ears, Grand Staircase Monuments
12/4/17: WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, Congressional Western Caucus Chairman Paul A. Gosar D.D.S. (AZ-04), House Natural Resources Committee Chairman Rob Bishop (UT-01), Chief Defense and Interior Officer Chris Stewart (UT-02), Western Caucus Members Raúl Labrador (ID-01), Andy Biggs (AZ-05), Doug Lamborn (CO-05) and Tom Emmer (MN-06), and Congressman John Curtis (UT-03) issued statements following President Trump’s announcement of modifications to the Bears Ears and Grand Staircase-Escalante Monuments:
Congressman Gosar said, “Today’s announcement by President Trump shows that he and Secretary Zinke are committed to smart, restrained and proper application of the Antiquities Act. His decision takes power from unaccountable Washington bureaucrats doing the dirty work of special-interest groups and gives it back to the people where it belongs. By shrinking the national monument footprint in Utah by more than two million acres, President Trump is correcting past overreach by previous presidents, supporting the multiple-use doctrine for public lands required by federal law and giving local communities a voice by restoring traditional uses. And unlike past Presidents, President Trump heard the people, listened closely to their ideas, and acted. Thank you, President Trump, for keeping another promise and taking action to ensure past presidents abuse of a more than one hundred-year-old law doesn’t lock-up the West.”
Congressman Bishop said, “I applaud President Trump for recognizing the limitations of the law. Americans of all political stripes should commend him for reversing prior administrations’ abuses of the Antiquities Act and instead exercising his powers within the scope of authority granted by Congress. These new proclamations are a first step towards protecting identified antiquities without disenfranchising the local people who work and manage these areas. The next steps will be to move beyond symbolic gestures of protection and create substantive protections and enforcement and codify in law a meaningful management role for local governments, tribes and other stakeholders.”
“The Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument resides in my district. I have seen firsthand the damage that the monument has caused to the local economy. My constituents have been in a desperate need of change, and today President Trump delivered. President Trump had the courage that no other president had. He listened to local voices that had been left out of the decision-making process for too long. On behalf of the county commissioners, the state legislators who represent the area, and the entire federal delegation, we say thank you, Mr. President,” said Congressman Stewart.
President Trump’s reductions of the Bears Ears and Grand Staircase-Escalante Monuments in Utah are a welcome relief to western landowners,” said Congressman Biggs. “The west has been negatively affected for decades, and government has not constrained its unlawful acquisition of these lands. Earlier this year, I led a letter with Chairman Gosar to Secretary Zinke to recommend the total rescission of these two monuments. I am glad that the two monuments will be significantly reduced, and I trust that the Trump administration will continue to relinquish the federal government’s grasp on these lands.
Congressman Labrador, “I support President Trump’s decision to correct his predecessors’ overreach and scale back the monument designations to reflect local concerns and respect the right of ordinary Americans to make a living. Radical environmentalists will howl, but the fact remains that the Antiquities Act has been abused by presidents of both parties. Now we need to move forward on a permanent legislative solution to restrain abuse of presidential power over our public lands.”
“I support the President’s decision. This rolls back harmful overreach by the previous administration. Instead of using the law to protect antiquities, it’s been wrongfully used to restrict development. It’s also made it more difficult to take care of our national lands,” said Congressman Lamborn.
“The President’s action today and the House’s action to pass the MINER Act last week demonstrate a renewed commitment of returning power from Washington bureaucrats back to the states,” said Congressman Emmer, whose MINER Act will protect Minnesota’s right to explore and, if environmentally appropriate, mine valuable precious metals. “It’s high time the federal government allow local economies to flourish and trust the land to the people who live there.”
“I am grateful to the President for coming to Utah to help us resolve this important issue,” Congressman Curtis said. “Now that the President has created two new monuments in my congressional district, the time has come for congress to ensure that these sites are managed the right way. In the coming days, I look forward to introducing legislation to ensure we are just doing that.”