Statement on new Trump administration plans for Grand Staircase–Escalante and Bears Ears National Monuments

Aug 15, 2018

DENVER—The Department of the Interior and Department of Agriculture today released new management plan proposals for Grand Staircase–Escalante National Monument and the first-ever management plan proposal for Bears Ears National Monument. The public will now have 90 days to submit comments on these draft plans.

Last December, at the urging of Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke, President Trump attempted to shrink both monuments by executive order. Those orders are currently being challenged in court.

The Center for Western Priorities released the following statement from Executive Director Jennifer Rokala:

“The thousands of pages included in these management plan proposals aren’t worth the paper they’re printed on. Huge swaths of Bears Ears and Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monuments were eliminated illegally by President Trump and Secretary Zinke. Legal scholars are in agreement: the courts will overturn the president’s illegal action and the rush to finalize these plans will prove to be an extraordinary waste of taxpayer dollars.

“We’ve said all along that the entire charade was an unprecedented gift to extractive interests seeking to drill and mine within the boundaries of these historical, cultural, and paleontological wonders. Even a cursory examination confirms our greatest fears: these management plans read like a neon sign inviting drilling and mining companies into our national monuments.”

The draft plans even include a nearly 100-page report completed by the state of Utah and the Bureau of Land Management on the potential for mining coal, uranium, and tar sands, as well as the opportunities for drilling oil and gas wells inside the original boundaries of Grand Staircase–Escalante National Monument.