Yesterday was a horrible day for Native Americans, for Montanans, for westerners, for everyone who loves our sacred public lands. With one swipe of that tweeting hand Donald Trump and Ryan Zinke enacted the largest elimination of national public lands in our nation’s history.
With an 85% reduction in Bears Ears National Monument and a 50% reduction in the Grand Staircase, this paves the way for further reductions, eliminations and administrative easing of regulations for extraction.
Montanans protested in solidarity with Utahns today as they know Montana is next on chopping block for Zinke and Trump.
I think our Montana elected officials, reporters, veterans and citizens say it simply enough:
An attack on public lands anywhere is an attack on public lands everywhere. This isn’t an issue that divides us. This is an issue that unites us. https://t.co/qJQTRn7WLm
— Steve Bullock (@GovernorBullock) December 4, 2017
— EllieBoldmanHill (@EllieHill) December 5, 2017
From the Missoula Current article:
A diverse coalition of Montana groups advocating for public lands – have also called on Rep. Greg Gianforte, R-Montana, to withdraw his support for a House resolution making it legal for a president to strip protection from public lands across the West.
Gianforte has voted for the resolution.
“(The resolution) is an attempt by Utah Rep. Rob Bishop to not only dismantle the Antiquities Act, but to dismantle our entire public lands legacy,” said Hilary Hutcheson, host of Trout TV and the owner of an outdoors shop in Columbia Falls. “If Rep. Gianforte doesn’t withdraw his support of the House resolution, Montanans will certainly hold him accountable for standing with Rep. Bishop’s anti-public lands crusade and against Montana’s outdoor way of life.”
Signed by President Theodore Roosevelt in 1906, the Antiquities Act gives U.S. presidents the authority to designate national monuments and safeguard public lands that claim outstanding natural, cultural, historical and scientific value.
The Missoula Current article continues:
“If the resolution passes, the Upper Missouri River Breaks will be put right back on the chopping block and subject to the political whims of the current and future presidents,” said Nicolle Fugere, a Fort Benton business owner. “The bill jeopardizes my business and thousands of others in Montana and across the country that depend on the permanent protection national monuments were intended to have.”
Multimillionaire Congressman Greg Gianforte followed the marching orders of his party bosses and voted to gut the Antiquities Act, which allows for the creation of national monuments. The bill Gianforte supports would allow the president to drastically reduce the size of national monuments, in addition to limiting designations to 85,000 acres and creating a cumbersome approval process for all but the smallest monuments.
This runs counter to what he said repeatedly while running for office. Back in April he told MTPR, “Public land needs to stay in public hands. And by that I mean federal hands.”
If that is truly what he believes, then why would he vote to allow the size of national monuments to be reduced, permanently threatening public lands like the Upper Missouri River Breaks National Monument?
It’s not the first time he’s shown that his support for public lands is all talk. Back in 2009, he famously sued to block a public easement on his property.
It looks like Zinke and Gianforte are in for some more political turmoil in the future.