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President Trump, the exploitation of public land and your rights

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On Monday, December 4, President Trump announced, at Utah’s state capitol in Salt Lake City, his decision to reduce the size of Bears Ears and Grand Staircase Escalante National Monuments by millions of acres, the largest reduction of public protected land in the history of this nation.

The Trump administration reduced the size of Bears Ears, a rolling sea of red rock, jagged spires, and geological history, by 85% and Grand Staircase, of similar beauty and archaeological importance, by about 50%.

This decision was a reversal of of protections put in place by former Democratic presidents, Bill Clinton and Barack Obama. The reason for this reduction of protected land is due to the push of fossil fuel industries, oil thirsty Congressmen, ranchers, and hunters.

The threat of reducing these national monuments has been around for months, and was met with much resistance from climbers, outdoor organizations such as Wilderness Society, and citizens who feel the responsibility to stand up for what is rightfully theirs to be enjoyed and protected.

Due to the immense amounts of resistance before the decision was made, it was no surprise that protests broke out at the state capitol building on Monday, the day of the announcement. Many people who love the outdoors attended, especially those in the climbing community and Native Americans who feel the obligation to protect the lands that are still sacred to their people.

Although there was a push from certain citizens in Utah to reduce this land, primarily for the purpose of mining, ranching, and hunting, the fact that there was so much protest and opposition to this decision, shows that a large number of the citizens of Utah did not want to reduce the size of the protected land. While driving through Salt Lake City, Utah, signs are seen on almost every house saying, “We stand with Bears Ears!” or “Save Grand Staircase Escalante.”

The question then arises: With so much obvious opposition, if the President and his administrators are truly public servants, wouldn’t they listen and work to figure out a better solution?

The answer simply is that they should; however, they are not. If the President was truly a public servant he would do less for the interests of mining corporations and profit, and listen more to the cry of the people in protecting their wild places.

There is no guarantee that the land that was taken away from the national monuments will be mined, but if it is, it will be a devastating loss for the health of the land and those who care about the outdoors.

In President Trump’s decision, much attention was raised from many outdoor brands, including Patagonia.

Patagonia, a popular company for outdoor clothing and gear, has decided to sue President Trump on the grounds that a President does not have the authority to take away public, protected lands… only to create them.

“We’ve fought to protect these places since we were founded and now we’ll continue that fight in courts,” said Rose Marcario, Presedent and CEO of Patagonia.

Only time will tell what the outcome of this fight will be, but if anything should be realized, it is that these wild places are worth saving. It is your inherited liberty to enjoy these beautiful areas, and we must continue to stand up and fight for them in the face of development and desamation.

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President Trump, the exploitation of public land and your rights