At a time when climate change scientists are warning that protecting the planet is critical for human survival even in the short term, when warning signs point to a very short time left to limit the damage climate change will cause, and as temperatures rise to some of the highest levels in recorded history, the president of the United States feels this is the time to reduce environmental protections and roll back efforts to protect the planet.
Under a new plan released today, hundreds of thousands of acres inside what used to be Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument will be available for mininghttps://t.co/rHMZzhj4oh
— The Salt Lake Tribune (@sltrib) August 23, 2019
The latest evidence of this comes from the Trump administration’s decision to further cut the protected area of one of the national monument in Utah, the Grand Staircase-Escalante. Trump’s administration cut the protected areas from 3,000 acres down to just over 1,500 in 2017 and further cuts are planned.
The Associated Press reports that:
‘The Bureau of Land Management’s plan for the Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument in southwestern Utah codifies that the lands cut out of the monument will be open to mineral extraction such as oil, gas and coal as expected, according to a plan the agency provided to The Associated Press.
‘The agency chose an option that doesn’t add any areas of critical environmental concern, increases lands open to cattle grazing and could raise the potential for “adverse effects” on lands and resources in the monument, the document shows.’
An area the size of Rhode Island will be open to coal mining if a new BLM plan for land carved out of Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument is finalized https://t.co/ZBPsqDuZJz
— Bobby Magill (@bobbymagill) August 23, 2019
Of course, the motivation is money, which is only to be expected of Trump and the GOP. The lands will be opened up for mining for oil, coal, and gas, all industries that should be reduced in order to protect the land rather than revived. Trump isn’t big on science, however, or anyone with goals that don’t include increasing a financial bottom line, so efforts to curtail the cuts have been ignored.
‘Conservation and paleontology groups vehemently opposed the downsizing of the monument and have lawsuits pending challenging the move. Those groups criticized the plan’s lack of land protections and consider the plan a waste of taxpayer resources, saying the government should not have acted until the lawsuits are resolved.’
BREAKING: @Interior's new (horrible 👎) plan for #GrandStaircase-Escalante National Monument is another undemocratic step toward undermining protections for Americans’ national monuments and other protected #PublicLands. https://t.co/FUApZ3UEZL
— Wilderness Society 🌳 (@Wilderness) August 23, 2019
While the Trump administration insists that the provisions they’ve already made to consider protections for the environment in cutting the monument’s lands down are enough, conservationists say that the push to take over these lands have been evident from Trump’s earliest days in office.
‘To Steve Bloch, legal director at the Southern Utah Wilderness Alliance conservation group, it’s unforgivable to cut the monument in half and downgrade the excluded lands into what he calls “garden variety public lands.”
‘“Grand Staircase-Escalante is one of the nation’s public land crown jewels and from the outset the Trump administration was hell-bent on destroying this place,” Bloch said.’
"Grand Staircase-Escalante is being taken from the public and handed to the highest bidder." -NPCA's President & CEO @theresapierno. Recent developments in the fight to #SaveGrandStaircase: https://t.co/BTbZ3Ogh2T
— National Parks Conservation Association (@NPCA) August 23, 2019
Featured image screenshot via YouTube