National Review’s Sarah Kliff: Trump’s decision to move forward with monument expansion ‘calls for a revolution’
Posted On August 5, 2021
The White House on Friday announced a plan to move the controversial Bears Ears National Monument to a new site in southern Utah, in a move that could open the way for more oil and gas development along the Utah-Arizona border.
In a statement to The Associated Press, Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke said he would use his powers to designate a new monument in a state that borders the border.
He said the decision to expand Bears Earmount to a different state is “calls and signals a call for a new revolution in American energy policy that puts American jobs, our communities, and our future at the center of our energy strategy.”
Zinke did not say how much land he plans to give up.
The move could be contentious.
Interior Secretary Zinke on Friday ordered Interior to consider a new location for Bears Earms National Monument in Southern Utah.
(AP photo) In a letter to Utah Gov.
Gary Herbert, Zinke cited recent changes in federal land management policy and urged the governor to move his state’s proposed new monument, the Bighorn Basin, from the Navajo Nation reservation in Utah to a more suitable location.
The Utah state legislature has rejected a request to expand the monument to include more than a dozen tribes.
“If you move the monument in Utah, then you should also consider the future of Bears Eare,” Zinke wrote.
“I cannot do this alone.”
A group of Native American tribes opposed the move.
“The Navajo Nation has never taken any position on any presidential designation,” the tribe said in a statement.
“We will continue to support the president’s decision on this issue and call on him to respect our lands, waters, and resources.”
Herbert had initially opposed the monument.
He later said he was willing to consider an amendment to the monument designation process that would remove protections for the Navajo and San Juan Coasts and allow the agency to review new land.
Zinke’s move comes as President Donald Trump prepares to take office in January.
Interior and Interior Secretary Dan Wenkus have said they expect Trump to move Bears Ear, one of the nation’s most iconic landscapes, from its current site in Utah.
Trump had earlier declared the Bears Earthen Basin and other national monuments in Utah as national monuments, a move critics said was a major blow to indigenous rights.
Interior has been a major backer of the monument, including building a wall along the southern Utah border to keep out illegal immigrants.
But in March, a judge temporarily blocked the construction of a wall at the border with Mexico and ordered Zinke to conduct an environmental review of the proposed new site.
The president has since announced that he will move the proposed monument to an area east of the existing border, and the new site could open up oil and natural gas development near the current site.
But Zinke announced the move last week, saying that the Bears and Ears are in need of new management and protection.
“Today’s announcement confirms the need for more robust management and stewardship at the Bears [and] Ears monument,” he said in the statement.