“MONUMENT COMMENTS FLOOD IN: The comment period on Interior’s review of nearly two dozen national monuments closed Monday and environmentalists and public lands advocates are boasting of millions submitted comments in support of keeping the monuments exactly as they are. The Center for Biological Diversity said a survey of “dozens” of organizations found 2.5 million comments in favor of the monuments, while the Center for Western Priorities released an analysis claiming a random sample of 1,000 comments showed 98 percent in favor of existing monuments. Many organizations appear to have submitted comments on each individual national monument under review, such as the Sierra Club’s here. More than 200 outdoor business leaders asked Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke to “maintain the national treasures Presidents of both parties have protected” and “defend the integrity of the monument-making process.”
I received this email from Jessica Strickland, Trout Unlimited’s Field Coordination here in California:
I’m sure you’ve heard of the Monument issue that’s going on and how San Gabriel NM is one of the ones under review. TU has a huge campaign out right now. We are working hard to protect the National Monuments being reviewed by the Executive Order to analyze all monuments designated after 1996. There are six here in California under review, and we’ve been told the most at risk are Giant Sequoia and Cascade-Siskiyou National Monuments. Giant Sequoia is being reviewed to decreased by 2/3’s in size, which would remove the current protections for many waterways (Upper Kings River, Tule River, and the headwaters of the North Fork Kern River).”
I wrote about the efforts by TU and other conservation organizations back in May and asked readers to write a letter. Here’s our last chance to voice an opinion. Check out this strong letter that appeared today as inspiration for your own letter.
I’m a scientist and not a lawyer, so I won’t argue the legal claims made by attorneys from a conservative think tank. But the real “magical thinking” is to believe President Trump’s claims that he’s acting in the public interest by opening up dozens of national monuments for “review.”
Nothing could be further from the truth. This is a blatant attempt to industrialize these magnificent places, with the oil, gas, private water and logging industries as the beneficiaries.
The public is not calling for clear cutting in Giant Sequoia National Monument. It has not asked for drilling or fracking in Carrizo Plain or pumping underground water from underneath Mojave Trails. National monuments in California and other states enjoy devoted, widespread local support.
Ileene Anderson is public lands director and senior scientist at the Center for Biological Diversity in Los Angeles.