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Today’s Your Last Day to Tell the Trump Administration To Back Off Our National Monuments

The U.S. Department of the Interior has scheduled a massive and unprecedented “review” of 27 national monuments created since 1996, and you have until July 10 to let them know what you think. This “review” covers more than 11 million acres of public land, including the Mojave Trails and Giant Sequoia in California, Craters of the Moon in Idaho, Northeast Canyons and Seamounts off the coast of New England, and Rio Grande del Norte in New Mexico.

Given the Trump administration’s attitude toward the environment, this “review” is likely being used as a front to open up public lands to oil and gas companies. Luckily, you have a chance to tell them how gross that would be. The Department of the Interior has opened for public comments on the “review,” but only until July 10!

Per their official instructions, “comments may be submitted online after May 12 at http://www.regulations.gov by entering ‘DOI-2017-0002’ in the Search bar and clicking ‘Search,’ or by mail to Monument Review, MS-1530, U.S. Department of the Interior, 1849 C Street NW, Washington, DC 20240.” (Or you could just click my direct link. )

Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke has already released his recommendations for Bears Ears National Monument in southern Utah – and surprise, surprise, he wants to shrink it. Bears Ears was designated by President Obama in part to prevent looting and vandalism of the historic Native American artifacts on this land, and Zinke seems to want to shrink the park to cover only those areas of known archaeological and spiritual significance.

“There is a lot more drop-dead gorgeous land than there is historic landmarks, historic structures and other objects,” Zinke said, as if that’s somehow a bad thing. What would he rather see there? Condos? A Trump golf course?

That said, Zinke also advocated for the local Native American tribes to have greater control over the monument – a proposal I can get behind. (The Utah Diné Bikéyah themselves, it should be noted, still voiced their opposition to his plan anyway, in moving videos and a press release – so they smell a rat.) And whatever happens with Bears Ears, it’s unclear what destruction Zinke might suggest for the other dozens of monuments under review.

Comments for Bears Ears have already closed, but comments on the other national monuments close on July 10, so be sure to submit yours today! It’s especially important if you live near any of these monuments, as Zinke has repeatedly emphasized his commitment to “local control” over these lands. Let him know how those locals feel.

(Via Mother Jones and NPR; image via Shutterstock)

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