Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Groups condemn Trump's latest Executive Order on national monuments

During the an earlier march, members of Gabriela-USA, a Filipino/American advocacy group, marched under the banner of climate change.

THE TRUMP administration issued a new executive order today (April 26) directing the Department of the Interior, led by Ryan Zinke, to review previous monument designations allowed under the 1906 Antiquities Act. 

According to White House officials, the review could bring “changes or modifications” that could open more public lands to fossil fuel extraction, harvesting of old growth forests or development.

“This is another unjust assault on our climate, environment and national heritage, a hallmark of the president’s 1st 100 days," said 
Rhea Suh, President, Natural Resources Defense Council. 

"These precious lands belong to all Americans. Our country holds them in trust for the benefit of all Americans, now and in the future. These monuments—and the resources and wildlife they protect—are worthy of ironclad protection because they are unique, and vulnerable to encroachment and destruction. President Trump should not try to strip away their protection. 

Indigenous leaders and climate activists have fought to gain monument designations for lands across the country to protect them from the fossil fuel industry. Areas like the Bears Ears National Monument, a 1.35-million acre area in Utah including sacred Native American lands, could be at risk for losing their protected status. 

Weeks before he left office, President Barack Obama used the Antiquities Act to create the Papahanaumokuakea Marine National Monument off of Hawaii.which spans 582,578 square miles just west of Hawaii. It is one of the threatened sites. For a complete list of 24 threatened national monuments, click here.
National parks like the Grand Canyon exist because of the Antiquities Act, and any move by the Trump administration to revoke protections of designated monuments will likely face challenges in court.

Last week, in a move anticipating Trump's EO, the three minority Congressional caususes -- the Asian Pacific American, Black and Hispanic -- gave notice to their fellow member of Congress that they will fight any move to remove the special designation on that are historically significant to their communities. 

"Any attempt to curtail the President’s authority to protect these places or to remove protections already put in place by other Presidents is an attack on our shared history," they said in a joint statement.

According to Reuters, the national monuments order is the first of two executive orders on energy and the environment that Trump is signing this week. On Friday, -- the 99th day of his presidency -- he’s expected to sign an order aimed at reviewing rules related to offshore drilling and the designation of areas where offshore oil and gas exploration are permitted.

The public overwhelmingly supports protecting our national parks and monuments and on Saturday, April 29, thousands of people across the country and in Washington, D.C. are expected to join the Peoples Climate March to Trump administration policies like this one and stand up for climate, jobs and justice.

"The tens of thousands gathering Saturday to march for climate action will fight his attempted sellout, and to preserve these iconic public places and the American values they represent,” said Suh.