Trump admin won’t slash Grand Canyon Parashant National Monument
One more piece of good news: No cuts to the pristine Grand Canyon Parashant National Monument. As part of their war on anything not involving drilling or mining, the Trump administration has been “evaluating” whether to remove lands set aside in 14 national monuments (and turn them over for oil and/or mineral exploration).
By Jeremy Bloom
“Today I’m announcing that Grand Canyon-Parashant National Monument’s review process has concluded and I am recommending no changes be made to the monument,” said Secretary Ryan Zinke. “The land has some of the most pristine and undeformed geological formations in North America, which show the scientific history of our earth while containing thousands of years of human relics and fossils.”
Grand Canyon Parashant National Monument was designated in 2000, by President Clinton, and contains a million acres adjacent to Grand Canyon National Park. Clinton decided that having a massive uranium mine right next to the park wouldn’t contribute to its grand, magnificent beauty, and that the rights of a few mining companies didn’t trump the rights of the thousands of people who earn their living from National Park tourism as well as the millions of visitors every year.
Now Trump wants to second-guess every decision on land use by the Clinton and Obama administrations. That’s 22 land-based monuments and five marine monuments about which he is in effect saying, “Yeah, we know you did years of work and spent thousands of hours and got input from governors and tribal authorities and local officials and businesses but it wasn’t good enough so we’re going to go back and check it.”
Here’s the relevant chunk of Trump’s executive order:
“…Such designations are a means of stewarding America’s natural resources, protecting America’s natural beauty, and preserving America’s historic places. Monument designations that result from a lack of public outreach and proper coordination with State, tribal, and local officials and other relevant stakeholders may also create barriers to achieving energy independence, restrict public access to and use of Federal lands, burden State, tribal, and local governments, and otherwise curtail economic growth. Designations should be made in accordance with the requirements and original objectives of the Act and appropriately balance the protection of landmarks, structures, and objects against the appropriate use of Federal lands and the effects on surrounding lands and communities.”
The funny thing is… when you’re on Fox News it’s pretty easy to say “This was dictatorial power being practiced by President Obama running roughshod over the rights of local stakeholders”. But when you actually go back and look at the process… not so much.
Earlier this week, Zinke issued his report on Upper Missouri River Breaks National Monument in Montana. Also no change.
He’s also ordered no changes to Canyons of the Ancients in Colorado, Craters of the Moon in Idaho and Hanford Reach in Washington. He’s stated that he is looking at some unspecified changes to the most recent national monument, Bears Ears in Utah, but that’s the only one to change so far.