Bills winding through Congress would essentially give Trump a stamp of approval for his outrageous cuts to Bears Ears and Grand Staircase-Escalante national monuments.
In the days after President Trump effectively eliminated Bears Ears and vast portions of Grand Staircase-Escalante national monuments, drawing lawsuits from Native American tribes and intense criticism from millions of Americans, two members of the House of Representatives apparently said to themselves, 'what a great idea.'
Now, their handiwork is making its way through the halls of power in Washington, DC.
A bill introduced by Utah Rep. Chris Stewart that would effectively codify Trump's cuts to Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument received a subcommittee hearing Dec. 14.
If it became law, it would also cut off attempts to fight the Trump administration's actions in court and establish a "management council" for the area driven by parochial interest. This council would effectively give management over 1 million acres of public lands to a few anti-public lands officials who have shown a disdain for obeying federal laws.
Legislation introduced by Stewart's colleague, Rep. John Curtis, would similarly ratify Trump's virtual elimination of Bears Ears National Monument. It was recently introduced and awaits action in the House.
So to summarize:
2.8 million Americans submitted official comments to the Trump administration about its punitive review of national monument lands, and 99% were opposed to the review and in favor of keeping monument protections...
Utahns marched in Salt Lake City to protest Trump's expected devastating cuts to Bears Ears and Grand Staircase-Escalante...
After Trump's decision, countless Utahns (and other Americans) reacted with severe disappointment...
And after all that, Reps. Stewart and Curtis decided the best way to serve their constituents was by doubling down on Trump's shameful assaults and setting his illegal actions in stone.
What makes these guys think rollbacks to monument protection are what Americans want?
This is the next chapter of the fight to save national monument lands. While we challenge the Trump administration's monument decisions in court, we will also be tracking the progress of these two bills in Congress.
In the coming months, expect us to call on you to contact your members of Congress and raise hell. Stay tuned.