A new report by the Natural Resources Defense Council highlights the tremendous economic and environmental benefits of some two dozen American parklands and waters.
“These breathtaking places belong to you and me,” said Rhea Suh, NRDC president. “Millions of Americans have urged the government to protect them. They are not mere pieces of real estate the Trump Administration can sacrifice to industrial ruin.”
In an unprecedented move, Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke launched the review of 27 national monuments in May following an executive order by President Trump. The administration invited public input, and in more than 2.7 million public comments, Americans have urged the Trump Administration to protect these national monuments.
“Our national monuments remind us what we share as a country, who we are as a people, and what we as Americans value enough to protect and conserve,” said Rhea Suh. “Protecting each of these treasures is a promise we’ve made to our children—and a promise we’re going to keep. If this administration tries to violate that, we’ll hold the president to account in the court of public opinion, and in our courts of law.”
The Antiquities Act of 1906 empowers every president to designate special places as monuments whose preservation is in the public interest. It does not, however, give any president the authority to remove protections that past presidents have conferred. For Donald Trump to strip away these protections is unconscionable. And illegal. That’s why the Natural Resources Defense Council is holding President Trump to account—in both the court of public opinion and in our courts of law.
This report provides a snapshot of those national monuments that Trump and Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke have placed in their crosshairs, from the Rio Grande to the Rose Atoll. It highlights the natural, cultural, and economic signficance of each site. Furthermore, it tallies and details the many appreciable public interests that each one serves—from the perspectives of anglers, hikers, Native Americans, ranchers, farmers, business groups, and others.
The Antiquities Act was passed because Congress and the American people wanted the president to have the power to protect lands and waters that we recognize as sacred. The Grand Canyon. Muir Woods. The Statue of Liberty. And sometimes these places are literally sacred, such as the Bears Ears National Monument and other sites that are of profound religious significance to Native Americans. I believe all of them are sacred in the broader sense of the word that means most cherished and most venerated. And all of them deserve to be revered, not ravaged by special interests.
Yet that’s exactly what will happen if we don’t take action. To the mining, development, and fossil fuel industries, these sacred lands and waters represent nothing more than business opportunities: locations for the taking, to be dynamited, bulldozed, paved over, and drilled. To which we can only say: Not on our watch.
NRDC is joining with millions of Americans to raise our voices and stand up for our national monuments. These special places aren’t mere commodities to be sacrificed to industrial ruin. They’re reminders of all that we share as a country, and of who we are as a people. They’re reminders of what we, as Americans, actually value enough to protect and conserve.
The Natural Resources Defense Council is an international nonprofit environmental organization with more than 2.4 million members and online activists. Since 1970, our lawyers, scientists, and other environmental specialists have worked to protect the world’s natural resources, public health, and the environment.
Press release: New report on threatened national monuments highlights wide public support, economic benefits https://t.co/bUB9EqyTGv
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