The public comment period for the Department of the Interior’s so-called review of the Bears Ears monument in Utah is today. Unfortunately, while thousands of people have written in to share their support for protecting the area, multiple sources indicate that the review is nothing more than a sham that was over before it started.
It seems all but certain that despite overwhelming public support for Bears Ears, Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke will repeal protections for the area. In the absence of a monument, the area will remain under the clear and present threat of vandalism, putting at risk the value to the outdoor economy that Utah Governor Gary Herbert’s administration is already touting.
1.“We have a problem in Utah,”said Secretary Zinke during his Senate confirmation hearing, leading local residents who applauded the creation of the monument to wonder what that problem may be.
2. President Trump vows to “free up” Bears Ears after decrying protections for public lands as a “massive land grab” at a ceremony that included controversial advocate for privatizing public lands Demar Dahl.
3. Secretary Zinke travels to Utah and lectures supporters of Bears Ears to “be nice,” wagging his finger in the face of one woman who attempted to get answers about his intentions for the monument.
4. Senator Orin Hatch says Native Americans “don’t understand” what the monument will do, insinuating that they shouldn’t have a voice in the debate.
5. Resource Advisory Councils are cancelled, ending an important forum for public input into Interior’s decisions.
7. San Juan County Commissioner and convicted criminal Phil Lyman says Secretary Zinke told him the monument would be “rescinded.”
8. Secretary Zinke sets up a “listening session” on the monuments review, in Connecticut, two days after his recomendation to the President on Bears Ears is due.