On October 27, 2017, President Trump indicated that the administration would be moving forward with a proposed plan to shrink Bears Ears National Monument. Bears Ears is one of several public lands under threat of reduction which contain important ecological and cultural sites that need protections. Urge President Trump to protect our public lands and preserve our national monuments.
On April 26, 2017, President Trump issued an executive order directing Department of Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke to review all public lands that have been given national monument protections since 1996. The purpose of the review was to consider shrinking or eliminating special places previously conserved under the Antiquities Act of 1906 for being of national, historic, or scientific interest.
On August 24, 2017, Secretary Zinke submitted a private set of recommendations to the White House. Weeks later, his recommendations were leaked to the press, and the public learned of ten national monuments Secretary Zinke has recommended to be diminished. The report recommends shrinking and rolling back protections in Bears Ears in Utah, Cascade-Siskiyou in Oregon and California, Gold Butte in Nevada, and Grand Staircase-Escalante in Utah. The report also recommends rolling back protections in while keeping the current boundaries of Katahdin Woods and Waters in Maine, Northeast Canyons and Seamounts in the Atlantic Ocean, Organ Mountains Desert Peaks in New Mexico, Pacific Remote Islands near Hawaii, Rio Grande Del Norte in New Mexico, and Rose Atoll in Pacific Ocean near American Samoa. If Secretary Zinke's recommendations move forward, it would be the biggest loss of conservation protections in U.S. history. This could mean mining, oil and gas drilling, logging, commercial fishing, and grazing could take place in previously protected areas. It also could mean loss of wildlife habitat, destruction of delicate watersheds, and lost public access to wild places.
In addition, Bears Ears National Monument was in large part set up to protect historic and sacred sites for five American Indian nations, the Navajo, Hopi, Uintah & Ouray Ute, Ute Mountain Ute, and Zuni. Removing protections and shrinking the area of the monument endangers sacred land that these tribes have spent years trying to protect.
Sign our public petition, along with other Reform Jews and interfaith partners. Your name will be added to a letter we will deliver to President Trump telling him that we believe our public lands and national monuments must be protected.
Our Jewish tradition insists that we care for the earth and preserve the goodness of God’s creation. We are instructed in the Torah not to destroy (bal tashchit). Rather, we are to become stewards and protectors of the land. According to midrash, God charged Adam: “See my works, how fine and excellent they are! Now all that I created, for you I created. Think upon this, and do not corrupt and desolate my world; for if you corrupt it, there is no one to set it right after you.” (Ecclesiastes Rabbah 7:28)
For more on this issue, visit the RAC’s environment page, or check out the RAC Blog. You can also contact Legislative Assistant Jonah Baskin at (202) 387-2800