The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) has released its final plan for the Trump boundaries of Bears Ears National Monument. From the original size of over 1.3 million acres, the monument was reduced to 200,000 acres divided into in two units. Instead of focusing on conservation, the Trump plan calls for new off-road vehicle trails and building utility lines as well as extensive “vegetation removal” which means clearcutting pinion-juniper forests. Rather than simply closing campgrounds and petroglyph sites to target shooting, the Bureau of Land Management asked for comments and might allow shooting.
While this destructive agenda is carried out, the cultural resources plan will be delayed for two years so that conflicts can’t even be identified. The plan fails to include all five tribes in the Bears Ears Intertribal Coalition on the monument management team.
Lawsuits to restore the original Obama boundaries of Bears Ears have not yet been heard in court. Heidi McIntosh, managing attorney of the Earthjustice Rocky Mountains office, offers a ray of hope: “If we win the legal fight to restore Bears Ears National Monument, this plan will just be 800 pages of wasted effort.”
The final management plan has no formal comment period, but dismayed citizens can contact their members of Congress, write letters to the editor, or send letters to the U.S. Department of the Interior.
This article is a snippet from the larger column: Environews, that appeared in the September 2019 print issue. Read the full article here.