President Joe Biden will restore two huge national monuments in Utah that are at the center of a long-running public land dispute, and a separate marine conservation area in New York. England Which has recently been used for commercial fishing. Environmental protection at all three monuments was snatched away by former President Donald Trump.
The White House announced the changes Thursday night ahead of a ceremony on Friday.
Utah Governor Spencer Cox, a Republican, expressed disappointment in Biden’s decision to restore the Bears Ears and Grand Staircase-Escalante monuments, which the Trump administration significantly curtailed in 2017.
Monuments cover vast expanses of southern Utah where red rocks evoke distinctive buttes from petroglyphs and cliff dwellings and grassy canyons. Trump invoked the centuries-old Antiquities Act to cut 800,000 hectares from the two monuments, calling the ban on mining and other energy production a “massive land grab” that “should never have happened.”
His actions reduced the Bears Ears by 85 percent to just over 80,900 hectares, on land considered sacred to Native American tribes. He nearly halved the Grand Staircase-Escalante, leaving it about 405,000 hectares. Both monuments were erected by Democratic presidents.
The White House said in a statement Thursday night that Biden was “fulfilling an important promise” to restore the monuments to their full size and “upholding the longstanding principle that America’s national parks, monuments and other protected The areas are to be protected forever and for all people.”
The White House said Biden’s action was among a series of steps taken by the administration to protect public lands and waters, including oil leasing in Alaska’s Arctic National Wildlife Refuge and road construction in the Tongass National Forest in Alaska. Preventive measures are included. The largest federal forest in the country.
Biden’s plan restores security in the Northeast Valley and Frontier National Monument in the Atlantic Ocean southeast of Cape Cod. Trump changed a rule to allow commercial fishing on the marine monument, an action that was initiated by fishing groups but ridiculed by environmentalists who have called for restoring protections against the fishing. Biden and Interior Secretary Deb Haaland.
Jane Felt, Ocean Campaign Director for the Conservation Law Foundation, said, “Protecting the marine monument will “protect this invaluable area for the delicate species that call it home” and demonstrates the administration’s commitment to science.
Raul Grijalva, a Democrat and chairman of the House Natural Resources Committee, praised the Biden administration in a statement, saying that restoring the monuments shows its dedication to “preserving our public lands and respecting the voices of indigenous peoples.”
“It’s time to put Trump’s cynical antics in the rear view mirror,” Grijalva said.
But the governor of Utah called Biden’s decision a “tragic missed opportunity.” In a statement issued along with other state leaders, Cox said the president’s action “fails to provide certainty as well as funding for law enforcement, research, and other protections that require monuments and which only Congress.” action may be offered.
Utah Sen. Mitt Romney also criticized Biden, saying in a tweet that the president “missed an opportunity to build consensus” and sought a permanent solution for the monuments.
“Still, Utah’s national monuments are being used as a political football between the administrations,” Romney said Thursday.
“The decision to re-extend the borders of Beers Ears and Grand Staircase-Escalante is a devastating blow to our state, local and tribal leaders and our delegation …
Jennifer Rocala, executive director of the Center for Western Priorities, a conservation group, also praised Biden’s decision, saying she expects it to be a starting point toward her goal of preserving at least 30 percent of American land and ocean by 2030. is step.
“Thank you, President Biden,” Rocala said in a statement.
“You have listened to indigenous tribes and the American people and ensured that these landscapes will be preserved for generations to come.” Roccala said Trump’s cuts increased national attention to Bears Ears. She called on the federal government to manage the scenario and raise funds to handle the growing crowd.
Haaland, the first Indigenous cabinet secretary, traveled to Utah in April to visit the monuments, becoming the latest federal official to step into a year-long public land battle. Haaland presented his recommendations on the monuments in June.
former President Barack Obama Bears Ears was declared a national monument in 2016, 20 years after former President Bill Clinton stepped down to defend Grand Staircase-Escalante. Bear Ear was the first site to receive the designation upon the specific request of the tribes.