Summit Daily letters: Trump reduction of National Monuments a disgrace
December 5, 2017
Monument move a national disgrace
National monuments are not a "massive federal land grab." Monuments are carved out of existing federal land that has been under Washington's control since westward expansion.
The decision to repeal 85 percent of Bears Ears and cut Grand Staircase Escalante by almost half ignores 98 percent of the 2.8 million public comments submitted in support of preserving national monuments. Areas cut from the monuments, including coal-rich portions of the Kaiparowitz Plateau, will be reopened to mineral leasing and mining.
Congress enacted and President Theodore Roosevelt signed the Antiquities Act into law in 1906. Since then 16 presidents have used the Antiquities Act to protect our most beautiful places. These monuments underwent robust review for community input. Traditional uses by local communities, like grazing, were preserved but new activities such as mineral leases are prohibited.
The decision by this administration is a disgrace. First, it ignores the will of the American people who overwhelmingly want these special places preserved. Second, it is an insult to tribal sovereignty as it strips protection of Native American sacred sites. And if it is only about money, public lands drive a thriving outdoor economy, resulting in growth in employment and income for nearby communities. Colorado's outdoor recreation economy provides $28 billion in consumer spending, and nearly 230,000 jobs.
If you do not want to see destructive mining, drilling and fracking at the expense of outdoor recreation, wildlife, and the preservation of cultural sites, support the lawsuit of Native American tribes. Representatives from the Hopi, Zuni, Ute and Navajo Nation are challenging this administration's attempt to shrink Bears Ears. The Wilderness Society, Natural Resources Defense Council, Sierra Club and seven other groups as plaintiff have filed a lawsuit on behalf of Grand Staircase Escalante. For those of us who spend our money in anti-environmental Utah every mud season. maybe we should rethink this and visit our own national monuments at home in Colorado.
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What has happened to our representative form of government? President Trump's decision to shrink the Bears Ears and Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monuments ignored 98 percent of the 2.8 million Americans who followed rules, contacted their senators, representatives, signed petitions, wrote letters, marched in solidarity to protect cultural, historical, sacred lands, submitted public comments to save these and other national monuments from being destroyed. "We the people" have been slapped in the face with this decision. It is a complete disgrace and illegal.
Not only have Trump and his administration wounded our representative form of government, clearly they have harmed five Native American tribes by destroying public lands that are sacred sites. They are filled with ancient history, artifacts and precious habitats. The wounds are deep. Lawsuits will be filed to overturn this horrendous, unprecedented decision. As citizens, we must do everything we can to help heal the wounds. If possible, our financial support to the organizations filing the lawsuits would be most appreciated. For our country, for the people most affected and for our public lands for future generations, we must win!
Remembering longtime local, Pastor Miles
Summit County lost an inspirational leader and favorite son on Friday, Nov. 17, with the passing from pancreatic cancer of Pastor Bruce Miles. Around 400 friends, admirers and recipients of his 40-year local ministry attended his memorial service this Saturday at the Rocky Mountain Bible Church in Frisco and shed tears of love and appreciation for an untold number of lives made whole by this wonderful man's uncanny ability to bring God's word into a personally meaningful and life-changing message of salvation.
He helped us understand and accept that we are all sinners and that only a personal relationship with Jesus Christ would guarantee us eternal life in Heaven. On a daily basis, he gently and humorously made that message clear, simple and non-judgmental. His easy brand of spiritual nourishment endeared him to countless individuals and church communities here and around the world. Well done, good and faithful servant.
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