The Trump Administration has released a predictably horrible new management plan for lands cut from Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument boundaries. The plan threatens to open up formerly protected areas to oil and gas extraction, and mining including a back-from-the-dead coal strip-mine on the Kapairowtz Plateau.
When the Monument was formed, Grand Canyon Trust negotiated a deal to retire grazing leases near the Escalante River, but the Trump administration wants to undo the deal and let cows back in to do their damage. The plan also calls for “vegetation removal” on hundreds of thousands of acres, which means clearcutting native pinyon-juniper forests and re-seeding the areas with non-native grass preferred by ranchers. Lawsuits to restore the original monument boundaries have not yet been heard in court.