Conservation Groups Renew Opposition to Trump’s Attack on Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument

Friday, April 13, 2018

Contact:
Virginia Cramer, Sierra Club, virginia.cramer@sierraclub.org, 804-519-8449
Randi Spivak, Center for Biological Diversity, rspivak@biologicaldiversity.org, 310-779-4894
Jonathan B Ratner, Western Watersheds Project, jonathan@westernwatersheds.org, 877-746-3628

Conservation Groups Renew Opposition to Trump’s Attack on Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Sierra Club, Center for Biological Diversity and Western Watersheds Project today renewed opposition to President Trump’s illegal proclamation to strip protections from Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument in Utah. The conservation groups, which submitted comments as the first round of public input closes today, also criticized the Interior Department’s disregard for preserving irreplaceable objects of cultural and natural value and its destructive push for dirty fuel development.

“This process is a sham and an insult to millions of Americans who have told Trump to leave these national monuments as they were,” said Randi Spivak, public lands director at the Center for Biological Diversity. “The original boundaries of these spectacular monuments must be protected, along with the wildlife and cultural resources within them. Going through bureaucratic motions doesn’t change the fact that Trump’s actions are illegal.”

Interior Sec. Zinke is pushing ahead with the planning process for the former Bears Ears National Monument and Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument, even though several Tribal Nations and conservations groups are suing over Trump’s actions. Trump last year ordered more than 2 million acres stripped from the national monuments.

“This fast-tracked planning process is a huge waste of taxpayer money as all the time and money will be for nothing once our challenge to the illegal gutting of the Grand Staircase Escalante National Monument is over,” said Jonathan Ratner, Wyoming, Utah, and Colorado Office Director for Western Watersheds Project. 

In today’s comments, the groups urged the Bureau of Land Management to ban mineral extraction and to consider the significant harm any new fossil fuel development would have on the climate.

“Places like Grand Staircase-Escalante must remain protected from outdated dirty fuel development. We have an obligation to leave these places for future generations to experience– an obligation that was recognized by the original monument designation which must be upheld,” said Ashley Soltysiak, Utah Sierra Club Chapter Director. 

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The Center for Biological Diversity is a national, nonprofit conservation organization with more than 1.6 million members and online activists dedicated to the protection of endangered species and wild places. 

Western Watersheds Project is dedicated  to protecting and restoring western watersheds and wildlife through education, public policy initiatives, and legal advocacy.

The Sierra Club is America’s largest and most influential grassroots environmental organization, with more than 3 million members and supporters. In addition to helping people from all backgrounds explore nature and our outdoor heritage, the Sierra Club works to promote clean energy, safeguard the health of our communities, protect wildlife, and preserve our remaining wild places through grassroots activism, public education, lobbying, and legal action. For more information, visit www.sierraclub.org.

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