Press Release

Organizations call on Trump Administration to reverse decisions from tainted monuments review

Bears Ears National Monument, UT

Mason Cummings, The Wilderness Society

Washington, DC

Monday’s report by the Washington Post further proves that the Trump administration’s national monument review has been a predetermined exercise from the very beginning, designed to prioritize extractive uses of protected public lands and waters. It is clear that the Department of the Interior repeatedly ignored science, public opinion, local economic benefits, cultural resources and all other available evidence to arrive at recommendations to eliminate protections for national monuments.

In response to this report, a diverse array of organizations representing outdoor recreation, conservation, historic preservation, cultural heritage, scientists, archaeologists, paleontologists and many others collectively maintain that the only way for the Trump Administration to win back the trust of the American people  and to restore public faith in the management of our shared national monument lands and waters would be to take the following actions to reverse this ill-conceived review:

  1. Rescind Presidential Proclamations 9681 and 9682 that attempt to illegally eliminate over two million acres of Bears Ears and Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monuments and manage them in accordance with Proclamations 9558 and 6920 respectively
  2. Publicly reject the additional recommendations included in Secretary Zinke’s report to the President
  3. Rebuke Secretary Zinke’s mishandling of this review and launch an investigation to determine the full extent of the mismanagement, ideological bias, public deception, and rejection of fact-based analysis that occurred during the national monument review.

Full List of Endorsing Organizations

The Wilderness Society

Amargosa Conservancy

The American Alpine Club

California Wilderness Coalition (CalWild)

Californians for Western Wilderness

Center for Biological Diversity

Conservation Law Foundation

Defenders of Wildlife



Friends of the Earth US

Friends of the Inyo

Friends of the Organ Mountains Desert Peaks

Grand Canyon Trust

Great Old Broads for Wilderness

Greenpeace USA

Las Cruces Green Chamber of Commerce

League of Conservation Voters

Marine Conservation Institute

Mojave Desert Land Trust

National Parks Conservation Association

National Wildlife Federation

Natural Resources Defense Council

New Mexico Sportsmen

New Mexico Wilderness Alliance

Northern New Mexico Group, Sierra Club

Pacific Environment

Paleontological Society

Rocky Mountain Wild

San Juan Citizens Alliance

Santa Fe Green Chamber of Commerce

Save the Redwoods League

Sequoia Riverlands Trust

Sheep Mountain Alliance

Sierra Club

Soda Mountain Wilderness Council

Southern Utah Wilderness Alliance

The Trust for Public Land


Utah Dine Bikeyah

Vet Voice Foundation

Western Colorado Alliance

Quotes from supporting organizations:

“The revelations in these reports prove what has been clear for over a year: the monument ‘review’ was a sham with a predetermined outcome. Secretary Zinke and his staff planned to sell out our protected public lands and waters for private profit, regardless of the facts or the overwhelming public input. They flat-out ignored science, Native Americans, local businesses and nearly 3 million Americans who voiced their support for our national monuments.” – Jamie Williams, President, The Wilderness Society

"The Trump Administration Monuments Review represents an assault on a long tradition of protecting our nation's extraordinary natural and cultural heritage and an affront to all veterans who have fought so hard for our nation's public lands." – Major General Paul Eaton, US Army (Ret), Managing Director, Vet Voice Foundation

“On several previous occasions, the Paleontological Society has offered to work in good faith with Secretary Zinke to help identify and safeguard important scientific and cultural resources associated with US National Monuments. We are very saddened to now learn that previous representations by the Trump administration about incorporating these interests were apparently a ruse, and we see no alternative to rescinding and rebuking the administration's edicts related to National Monuments.” – Arnold Miller, President, Paleontological Society

 “This reporting confirms that Zinke’s ‘review’ of national monuments was a total sham. Instead of heeding public input and acting as a steward for the lands and waters we all own, Zinke’s team apparently went into this review with a clear intention of gutting our national monuments in a giveaway to polluters and private interests.  All national monument rollbacks based on that review should be reversed.” – Ana Unruh Cohen, Managing Director of Government Affairs, Natural Resources Defense Council

“Recent news from the Washington Post only supports what we’ve said all along – our nations parks and national monuments, protected under the Antiquities Act, safeguards our shared history and most treasured landscapes. Unwilling to acknowledge this, Interior Secretary Zinke’s secretive monuments review process withheld information related to the lands this administration arbitrarily called into question, and completely disregarded the will of the American people. Rather than upholding his duty to protect these incredible public lands for conservation, Secretary Zinke recommended the opposite making them vulnerable to mining, timber harvesting, oil and gas exploration and other development.” – Theresa Pierno, President and CEO, National Parks Conservation Association

"National Monuments are drivers of local economies, preserve majestic landscapes, and tell our stories of our shared history. We owe it to future generations not to undermine their permanent protections with present-day politics." – Diane Regas, President and CEO, Trust for Public Land

“The Interior Department documents show that the Trump administration had no intention of being responsible stewards of our public lands and waters. By dismissing the many benefits of protecting national monuments—and the millions of people across the country who weighed in with their support of parks and public lands—Secretary Zinke and his aides made it clear that the goal of their sham review was to sell out these special places to the highest bidder at all costs. It was nothing more than a thinly-veiled attempt to hand over places like Bears Ears to drilling and mining companies.”  Arian Rubio, Legislative Associate, League of Conservation Voters

"What has been obvious to anyone watching Secretary Zinke's actions has now been explicitly spelled out; Zinke's interest in parks and public lands extends no further than his own personal gain from selling them out to dirty fuel interests. The tremendous value these places hold for the economy, communities and our future can not be ignored." – Dan Ritzman, Director of Sierra Club's Lands, Water and Wildlife campaign. 

“Zinke was caught red-handed, erasing any shred of doubt that this was a sham review.  Zinke won’t hesitate to hide the truth to promote his corrupt agenda of industrializing America’s public lands and waters. Trump needs to reverse his disastrous proclamations, rescind Zinke’s fake national monuments review and end this debacle.” – Randi Spivak, Public Lands Director at the Center for Biological Diversity. 

"Given their disregard for public lands and waters, it's no surprise that the Trump administration was completely biased towards development interests in their review of national monument designations. An all-consuming ideology bent on removing any protections for land, water and wildlife that might stand in the way of drilling, mining and logging leaves no room for objective policymaking. The American people, who highly value our natural heritage, will not stand for this charade." – Jamie Rappaport Clark, CEO and President, Defenders of Wildlife.

“We now know that Ryan Zinke's review of national monuments was a scam. When his own studies came back showing the value of protecting the monuments, he hid the information in order to hand our treasured public lands over to his buddies in the mining industry. It’s time for the president to reverse his decision to strip protections from Bears Ears and Grand Staircase. The American people have proof that Ryan Zinke’s review and the proclamations to gut these iconic public lands are deeply tainted.” – Martin Hayden, Vice President of Policy & Legislation at Earthjustice.


The Wilderness Society, founded in 1935, is the leading conservation organization working to protect wilderness and inspire Americans to care for our wild places. With more than one million members and supporters, The Wilderness Society has led the effort to permanently protect 109 million acres of wilderness and to ensure sound management of our shared national lands.