Whitefish, MT. – Conflict-ridden Secretary Bernhardt released a statement commending President Trump on naming June the “Great Outdoors Month” for the third straight year. Meanwhile, the Trump administration is now credited with the largest reduction to public land protections in U.S. history.
In response, Executive Director of the Western Values Project Chris Saeger issued the following statement:
“This egregious spin of the Trump administration’s historically destructive public land policies is laughably disingenuous. More and more of America’s public lands are open to special interests and closed to the public. The Trump-Bernhardt Interior chooses to pull public lands protections every chance they get, jeopardizing our outdoor heritage for their industry allies at a historic pace.”
The study found that Trump’s illegal reduction of Bears Ears and the Grand-Staircase Escalante National Monuments coupled with Congressional approval of oil and gas development in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge resulted in the largest reduction of public land protections in U.S. history.
The unilateral decision by President Trump to reduce two Utah monuments in 2017 is still in litigation nearly two years later, while efforts to codify his illegal actions have repeatedly failed in Congress.
The report also noted that nine other terrestrial and ocean national monuments are still potentially on Trump’s chopping block. Public documents uncovered in part by Western Values Project found that Interior ignored on-the-ground input and that industrial-scale resource development was central to the administration’s decision to reduce both monuments.