Voices Across the Country
In the days following President Trump’s executive order triggering a review of 21 years of national monument designations, newspaper editorial boards, elected officials, conservation groups, and community stakeholders across the West and the nation weighed in with swift and severe condemnations of the president’s actions.
Here’s a sampling of what they had to say:
“Attempting to wipe national monuments off the map with the stroke of a pen would be illegal and unpopular, and this review will show as much.”
— U.S. Representative Raúl M. Grijalva (D-AZ)
"The president’s justification is built on factual sand. 'Federal land grab'? Both monuments were already federal land before they were declared. 'Preserving our land'? There is no argument to be made that monuments haven’t preserved land. 'Free it up?' What does that even mean? Free to overgraze and drive wherever we want? We’ve been there, and no one wants that."
— The Salt Lake Tribune Editorial Board
“Our Tribal governments have made it clear that any change to [Bears Ears National Monument] would undermine the efforts of so many, and would disrespect our deep and enduring connections to this place.”
— The Bears Ears Inter-Tribal Coalition
"There is much good in the Antiquities Act track record, because presidents, in their broad view of the national interest, have generally used their powers judiciously. Moreover, Congress has not been absent from this process. Very often it has ratified presidential actions, and at times it has checked the president’s use of the act, an interaction that restrains presidential abuse. Mr. Trump should keep this broad national interest, and long view, in mind."
— The Washington Post Editorial Board
“President Trump is making one thing clear today — he doesn’t give a damn about Nevadans. Gold Butte’s designation as a national monument was a huge win for Nevada, giving our state the resources and tools we need to safeguard this land. I am deeply disappointed that President Trump has ordered a review of these monuments, that could potentially lead to a loss of status and funding.”
— U.S. Representative Ruben Kihuen (D-NV)
"Zinke and Trump both said the review would give the public a chance to weigh in. But it already has. The Bears Ears designation, for instance, came after more than seven years of broad public debate and after a rival land-use plan by Utah’s congressional delegation failed to gain traction."
— The Los Angeles Times Editorial Board
“Any effort by President Trump to undermine the Antiquities Act, shrink, or even eliminate some of the most iconic American places will be met with fierce opposition.”
— U.S. Senator Martin Heinrich (D-NM)
"But in the meantime, Zinke’s review of the Rio Grande del Norte National Monument could gum up the works of a deal designed to provide access to the currently land-locked, 16,030-acre Sabinoso Wilderness, a dramatic piece of the high plains east of Las Vegas. Although the Sabinoso is public land, it is surrounded by private property owners who have declined to allow public access, leaving them and their friends what amounts to a private wilderness area that borders the Canadian River and features cliffs and 1,000-foot-deep canyons home to numerous wildlife species."
— The Albuquerque Journal Editorial Board
“Less than 24 hours after joining with our industry to celebrate the economic power of outdoor recreation, in a hypocritical move, the Trump administration took unprecedented steps that could result in the removal of protections for treasured public lands.”
— Rose Marcario, President and CEO, Patagonia
“America’s national monuments have become the latest victims in this heated political atmosphere. Any attempt to undo or alter them isn’t just undermining a century-old law, it’s a betrayal of the people who fought so hard for them, and the land and history we’ve all spent generations safeguarding.”
— Theresa Pierno, President and CEO, National Parks Conservation Association
"These monuments, including the two most controversial in Utah, have in fact been carefully vetted and have support of many despite the vocal opposition of a few. We’re confident Zinke will find little merit in negating the protections put in place."
— The Denver Post Editorial Board