For Immediate Release
Ahead of Peoples Climate March, Groups Condemn Trump’s Executive Order Stripping Protections for Public Lands
The order could amend monument designations and allow fossil fuel extraction
WASHINGTON - Ahead of the Peoples Climate March, the Trump administration is issuing an executive order today directing the Department of the Interior, led by Ryan Zinke, to review previous monument designations allowed under the 1906 Antiquities Act. According to White House officials, the review could bring “changes or modifications” that could open more public lands to fossil fuel extraction.
Indigenous leaders and climate activists have fought to gain monument designations for lands across the country to protect them from the fossil fuel industry. Areas like the Bears Ears National Monument, a 1.35-million acre area in Utah including sacred Native American lands, could be at risk for losing their protected status. National parks like the Grand Canyon exist because of the Antiquities Act, and any move by the Trump administration to revoke protections of designated monuments will likely face challenges in court.
The public overwhelmingly supports protecting our national parks and monuments and on Saturday, April 29, thousands of people across the country and in Washington, D.C. are expected to join the Peoples Climate March to Trump administration policies like this one and stand up for climate, jobs and justice.
May Boeve, Executive Director, 350.org, said, “So much for being Teddy Roosevelt. Zinke and the Trump administration want to gut the power of the Antiquities Act to shore up the fossil fuel industry. On top of all the attacks on our climate, now we’ll have to defend our parks and monuments from Big Oil as well. On Saturday, thousands of people across the country will be joining the Peoples Climate March to push back on this and other Trump climate assaults. We won’t let this presidency stop us from building toward a renewable energy future that works for all.”
Patrick Carolan, Executive Director, Franciscan Action Network, said, "This earth was gifted to us by God to support our human existence but also to be cared for and protected by us. As a result, there is no such thing as 'too much protected land.' The 1906 Antiquities Act was a provision intended to prevent some of the most breathtaking, life-giving land that this country has to offer. Without it, these lands are left vulnerable to drilling, mining, and development. By signing executive orders to amend the use of the Antiquities Act, President Trump is once again demonstrating his lack of concern and care for the resources of this planet. He is displaying his ignorance of the finite nature of what has been given to us, and abusing his position of power by making decisions that will negatively impact so many. Franciscans strongly heed our call to be guardians of God's creation, and so we cannot allow President Trump to enact his destructive policies; in this case, in the form of fully or partially rescinding the Antiquities Act."
Rev. Fletcher Harper, Executive Director of GreenFaith, said, “Nothing, nothing at all is sacred for this administration except policies that destroy life and wellbeing for people and the planet in order to enrich the wealthy. This Executive Order is intended to promote desecration of some of the most unique and significant places in our country.”
Tom Goldtooth, Executive Director of the Indigenous Environmental Network, said, “This is another Trump action that is another act of aggression against the inherent sovereign rights of our Native Nations to protect the traditional cultural areas and sacred places of American Indian and Alaska Native people. There are many areas in this Country, outside of our reserved lands that are of vital importance to our Indigenous peoples’ identity and rich cultural and spiritual history. The 1906 Antiquities Act cannot be stripped on its important historical mandates to designate national monuments to protect areas that have cultural, historical, and environmental significance. The act is paramount to all the Tribes in this Country; for our cultural preservation now and into the future. The frontline Indigenous communities in our network see Trumps actions as a way to open up fossil fuel and extractive mineral development within these national monuments designated under the 1906 Antiquities Act. Trumps action must be stopped.”
Annie Leonard, Executive Director of Greenpeace USA, said “Leave it to Trump to take aim at an American tradition and principle that is beloved across political affiliations -- our public lands, waters, and monuments. Trump wants to carve up this country into as many giveaways to the oil and gas industry as possible. But people who cannot afford the membership fee at Mar-a-Lago still want water they can drink, air they can breathe, and beautiful places to go for refuge. Trump is on the verge of jeopardizing true national treasures. We who cherish and rely on public lands and waters will ensure that he will not succeed.”
Michael Brune, Sierra Club Executive Director, said, “We should not be asking which parts of our history and heritage we can eliminate, but instead how we can make our outdoors reflect the full American story. There is no need for a review to demonstrate what families across the country already know first-hand -- national monuments provide tangible health, climate, and economic benefits. Indigenous leaders and climate activists have fought to gain monument designations for lands across the country to preserve sacred sites and protect wild places from the fossil fuel industry. Areas like the Bears Ears National Monument, a 1.35-million acre area in Utah including sacred Native American lands, could be at risk for losing their protected status. National parks like the Grand Canyon exist because of the Antiquities Act, and any move by the Trump administration to revoke protections of designated monuments will likely face challenges in court."
Gene Karpinski, President, League of Conservation Voters, said, “Donald Trump’s executive action paves the way for the elimination of protections for America’s majestic national parks and places that tell the story of all people in this country at an unprecedented scale. We will fight back. America’s parks and natural and cultural heritage should be protected and celebrated, not sold off to special interests. From the Statue of Liberty to the Grand Canyon, our monuments and parks honor our nation's deep history, recognize our dedication to human and civil rights, and protect our precious lands and waters that fuel America’s thriving outdoor recreation industry. Our nation will hold Trump accountable for putting corporate polluter interests ahead of people."
Rhea Suh, President, Natural Resources Defense Council, said, “This is another unjust assault on our climate, environment and national heritage, a hallmark of the president’s 1st 100 days. These precious lands belong to all Americans. Our country holds them in trust for the benefit of all Americans, now and in the future. These monuments—and the resources and wildlife they protect—are worthy of ironclad protection because they are unique, and vulnerable to encroachment and destruction. President Trump should not try to strip away their protection. The tens of thousands gathering Saturday to march for climate action will fight his attempted sellout, and to preserve these iconic public places and the American values they represent.”
Elizabeth Yeampierre, Executive Director, UPROSE, said, “The federal administration’s move to undermine the Antiquities Act is a direct attack on everything that the environmental justice movement stands for. From the Grand Canyon to Stonewall Inn, this act preserves those monuments that symbolize our collective natural heritage and houses of culture and struggle. Justice rests at the intersection of these legacies. This move demonstrates yet again that nothing in this administration’s eyes is beyond the reach of fossil fuel interests and destructive market forces. However, this order will do nothing to undermine our commitment to defending the sacredness of our land, protecting the dignity of our people, and fighting for environmental and social justice.”
Adrienne L. Hollis, PhD, JD, Director of Federal Policy, WE ACT for Environmental Justice, said, "The Antiquities Act serves a dual purpose: to preserve our beautiful land for current and future generations to enjoy, but most importantly, to protect land from pollution-creating activities–and ultimately protect vulnerable communities and their health. We cannot fully measure the importance this act has on protecting the planet and its inhabitants. To alter this powerful act is another form of desecration and a continuation of efforts to ignore the plight of frontline communities and the environments in which they live, work, play, learn, and pray."
Denise Abdul-Rahman, NAACP Indiana, Environmental & Climate Justice Chair, said, “From the African Burial Grounds, Harriet Tubman Underground and to now our Freedom Riders monuments and beyond. A respect for a people's sacred land should never be up for debate. Not for fossil fuel and not for Profit before the People. Our children must learn from whence the came, their culture, in order to be excellent stewards of their immediate environments.”
Mark Magaña, President & CEO of GreenLatinos, said, “Latinos throughout America have a strong connection to public lands and sustaining them is a key priority for the Hispanic community. In fact, poll after poll shows that Latino voters view conservation and protecting public lands as an almost unanimous community priority. This Administration's continued hostilities toward public lands and attempts to systematically weaken their protections will be met with tremendous resistance from the Latino community.”
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