Wow, this guy is having a week: retweeting anti-muslim banter, using a racial slur while hosting World War II Navajo code readers at the White House who graciously served our country and celebrating the firing of a national news anchor over sexual harassment allegations while facing at least a dozen of his own. And that’s just this week.
Then there’s this piece of deplorable environmental news: according to documents, Trump will announce the shrinking of Bears Ears National Monument by 85 percent and reduce Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument by at least 50 percent. Sources did add that things could change before Monday–when he’s expected to make the announcement in Utah–but this apparently is the plan this week (it’s always changing with this guy, so we should be used to it by now). The acreage of the two monuments will now look something like this: Bears Ears will be reduced from 1.35 million acres to 201,397 acres and Grand Staircase-Escalante from nearly 1.9 million acres to 997,490.
Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke recommended the changes to the President (ironically, he’s proposing a new monument in his home state of Montana where many think he hopes to become governor one day. Protecting public land is paramount to Montanan’s, analysts say). Trump is reducing these areas “to allow for activities such as logging in forests where that is now off limits,” and other resource extraction.
A request for comment from Patagonia, which has donated millions of dollars to help create and protect Bears Ears, was not returned although PR associates did say an announcement is upcoming. Patagonia has threatened litigation against the President, as have multiple Native American tribes.
As you can see, from the above, and hopefully regardless of your political affiliation, this president has clearly gone off the rails. Aside from his political and social blunders, this reduction of national monument land seems ill-timed and without a real means to an end: natural resource extraction companies don’t even appear on a list from 2015 of Utah’s top 50 employers. All the while Utah has lost the Outdoor Retailer Trade Show, a billion dollar boon to Salt Lake City, over the state’s policies while the outdoor industry continues to be a huge mover and shaker in the economy of creating jobs.
This would be the single largest elimination of protected lands in U.S. history. Democrats can certainly get behind a reasonable Republican president and the opposite is true as well, at least in the America I love. But this presidency has taken on a life of its own. And that’s certainly not a good thing.