(SALT LAKE CITY – December 4, 2017) – Today President Donald Trump issued two Executive Orders to reduce the size of the Bears Ears and Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monuments. The decision – which follows an extensive review of monument designations by the Department of Interior – is a clear win for rural communities who have suffered the consequences of egregious federal overreach.
The President told reporters, “We're going to Utah. We're going to be doing something that the state of Utah and others have wanted to be done for many, many years. It will be one of the great, really, events in this country in a long time. So important for states' rights and so important for the people of Utah. And I know a lot of you are coming out with me. We'll have plenty of time to talk.”
The White House released the following statement on the Executive Order:
(Picture Courtesy of the Public Lands Council)
In his address in Salt Lake City, the President Trump said that it doesn't make sense for entity thousands of miles away to control land in the west saying, “they don't know your land and they don't care for your land they way you care for your land.” Also adding that this, “is why I'm here today: Because some people think that the natural resources of Utah should be controlled by a small handful of very distant bureaucrats located in Washington. And guess what? They're wrong.”
(President Trumps remarks. Courtesy of The White House Youtube)
During his speech, the President said that “Here, and in other affected states, we have seen harmful and unnecessary restrictions on hunting, ranching, and responsible economic development. We have seen grazing restrictions prevent ranching families from passing their businesses and beloved heritage on to the children — the children that they love.”
In addition, President Trump stated, “We've seen many rural families stopped from enjoying their outdoor activities. And the fact they've done it all their lives made no difference to the bureaucrats in Washington. We have seen needed improvements, like infrastructure upgrades and road maintenance, impeded and foreclosed. We have seen how this tragic federal overreach prevents many Native Americans from having their rightful voice over the sacred land where they practice their most important ancestral and religious traditions.”
The National Cattlemen’s Beef Association and Public Lands Council applauded the White House’s plan to reduce the Bears Ears and Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monuments.
“Previous administrations abused the power of the Antiquities Act, designating huge swaths of land as national monuments without any public input or review,” said Dave Eliason, president of the Public Lands Council. “Rural communities in Utah and across the West have paid the price. Sweeping designations locked up millions of acres of land with the stroke of a pen, undermining local knowledge and decimating rural economies.”
The President’s decision means that traditional uses of the land, including livestock grazing, will be restored on public land in Utah.
“We are grateful that today’s action will allow ranchers to resume their role as responsible stewards of the land and drivers of rural economies,” said Craig Uden, president of the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association. “Going forward, it is critical that we reform the Antiquities Act to ensure that those whose livelihoods and communities depend on the land have a voice in federal land management decisions.”
Ranchers who hold grazing permits on public land do vital work that benefits public land including the improvement of water sources, conservation of wildlife habitat, and maintenance of the open space that Americans enjoy. Limitless power to make massive designations under the Antiquities Act poses a serious threat to that noble mission and rich heritage.