Environmental Politics, Politics, Social Justice

What to know about Trump’s December visit to Utah

Trump expected to visit and shrink two national treasures

Brace yourselves.

President Trump has said he will come to Utah in early December to announce downsizing of two National Monuments, Bears Ears (formed 12/28/2016 by President Obama) and Grand Staircase Escalante (formed 10/18/1996 by President Clinton).

In April, 2017 President Trump called for a “review” of Utah’s National Monuments at the request of Utah Senator Orrin Hatch (R). Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke carried out a rushed and blatantly sloppy review process, and despite overwhelming public support for National Monuments (and no evidence to support shrinking them) the review came to a foregone conclusion that Utah’s National Monuments are “too big.”

Utah politicians have not said how much the National Monuments will be trimmed or even explained any rationale for cutting them down except to blame “federal overreach,” whatever that means.

At a November press conference, Utah Governor Gary Herbert blamed critics for spreading “myths,” but made two false statements himself: One, that “we have no desire to privatize any of these public lands” and two, that downsizing is not to promote oil and gas development.

In fact, the main objection to the boundaries of Grand Staircase Escalante is that there are coal seams in the Kapairowits Plateau, and portions of Bears Ears were proposed by Rob Bishop (R-UT-1) Public Lands Initiative to be designated as an “Energy Zone.” An agenda to privatize public lands is part of the 2016 National Republican Party Platform. Most lawyers don’t think President Trump actually has legal authority to unilaterally dismantle National Monuments and conservation groups are preparing lawsuits against downsizing.

A Rally Against Trump’s Monumental Mistake is scheduled to take place at the Utah State Capitol in Salt Lake City December 2 from 1:00-2:30 pm. As of this writing, nobody seems to know exactly what date Trump is planning to be in Utah, or where in Utah he will be so keep an eye out for news updates.

Here’s what you need to know:

  • Rally Against Trump’s Monumental Mistake event. December 2 at 1-2:30pm, activists will be rallying against his administration at the Utah State Capitol Rotunda. Any one who wants to show their support of public lands is welcome.
  • Due to Trump’s security measures, we do not actually know when he will be showing up, but it will probably be announced very last minute for early December. So have your picket signs ready.
  • If you’d like to get directly involved by volunteering, click here.
  • If you’d like to receive text updates about everything related to this issue, text “UTAH” to 52886.
  • For any more questions, contact Teri with SUWA at terri@suwa.org

If you care about our public lands, it is important to show up. The purpose of a rally is to educate others, bring awareness to the issues and to create conversations around it. According to a Harvard Study, “protests can build political movements that ultimately affect policy.” So, show up and take a stand for what you believe in.

– Amy Brunvand & Jane Lyon