Last night, Washington Post revealed Sec.Ryan Zinke’s recommendations to alter national monuments around the country– risking the value and protected nature of public lands. Despite maintaining Arizona’s national monuments, Zinke ignored 98% of the 2.8 million Americans who submitted public comments urging the preservation of public lands nationwide. Stripping safeguards for these places is an unprecedented act in American history. The decision puts public lands in key states up-for-grabs for potential drilling, mining, and clear-cutting, and, if successful, could mean more attacks on more public lands, including those in Arizona.
In response, Sierra Club Arizona Chapter Director Sandy Bahr released the following statement:
“Recommendations to shrink any national monument is an attack on public lands everywhere. This behind-the-scenes hijack of public lands is disrespectful to indigenous and local communities that supported and continue to support these special places.
“This administration constantly puts short-term profits of a few wealthy corporations over the vast majority of the American people and our environment. It’s a true shame Trump’s team would rather benefit a few mining industry-insiders than value years of history of diverse cultures, recreation spaces that bring billions of dollars to the American economy, and the opportunity for future generations to enjoy places that actually do help make America great — and beautiful.
“Our public lands are the embodiment of our democracy–we all have a stake in them. We share these incomparable national gems that we all can enjoy and in which everyone has a responsibility to protect the lands, waters, wildlife, and enormous cultural resources. We should be continuing and strengthening those conservation efforts for decades to come not dismantling protections.”