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UPDATE: Should U.S. Drill, Mine for Energy on National Monuments?

by Countable | 9.18.17

What's the story?

UPDATE: After months of public comment - including a last-minute advertising push by conservation groups - Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke is recommending modifications to almost a dozen national monuments. This includes permitting commercial fishing in protected waters in the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans, and shrinking Bears Ears monument in Utah, which houses thousands of ancient Native American sites.

Why does it matter?

In a memorandum obtained by the Washington Post and Wall Street Journal, Zinke wrote:

"It appears that certain monuments were designated to prevent economic activity such as grazing, mining and timber production rather than to protect specific objects.”

Zinke suggests, as the Post explained, that "Trump use his authority under the Antiquities Act to change each of the 10 sites’ proclamations to permit activities that are now restricted."

The Interior Secretary does acknowledge in the report that a majority of public comments on the monuments review "were overwhelmingly in favor of maintaining existing monuments." However, Zinke says this was the result of “a well-orchestrated national campaign organized by multiple organizations.”

Countable’s most-recent article on this matter appears below.

Should U.S. Drill, Mine for Energy on National Monuments?

There’s a last minute push to save the national monument designation of areas across the country.

As reported by CBS Denver, "Conservation groups are airing TV ads, planning rallies and creating parody websites in a last-minute blitz to stop Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke from downsizing or eliminating national monument areas that cover large swaths of land and water from Maine to California."

On Thursday, Zinke will announce to the President his recommendations of whether to downsize, or eliminate, national monument areas. It follows a four-month review by Zinke in response to the President’s executive order in April that directed the Interior Department to examine recently-designated national monuments.

As Montana Public Radio explained, "The Trump administration has been pushing for increased energy development on public lands, including those protected as monuments."

Zinke seems to share the President’s agenda. During his review, the Interior Secretary made comments that sources on federal lands can and should be leveraged to make the U.S. a dominant force in global energy markets. Zinke told Reuters, "Energy dominance gives us the ability to supply our allies with energy, as well as to leverage our aggressors, or in some cases our enemies, like Iran."

Opponents have poured more than $2 million into the ads targeting Zinke. This includes the outdoor apparel company Patagonia, which spent $700,000 for a series of ads – the first they’ve ever done – asking Zinke to "keep public lands in public hands."

"We're all-hands-on-deck on monuments right now," said Aaron Weiss, a spokesman for the Center for Western Priorities, told The Hill. “Clearly across the conservation world, recognizing this is completely unprecedented, I think that’s part of the reason why you’ve seen the scale of the response you’re seeing.”

Kathleen Sgamma, the president of the Western Energy Alliance industry group, disagreed: "We have plenty of ways to protect natural resources on federal lands, and we don’t need these huge monument designations that really affect the livelihoods of local communities," she said.

What do you think?

Should the federal government open up lands previously protected under national monument designation for energy development, like drilling and mining? Use the Take Action button to tell your reps what you think.

–Josh Herman

RELATED READING

Trump Signs Executive Order 'Reviewing' Recently Designated National Monuments

Should Trump Rescind the National Monuments Obama Protected?

Zinke Argues for Balance Between Nat'l Monuments & Economic Development

(Photo Credit: CampPhoto / iStockphoto)

PHOTO

Countable

Written by Countable

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(952)
  • Zac
    09/18/2017
    ···

    This is literally the opposite of the reason National Monuments exist. It was plainly obvious from the beginning that this was the reason the current administration has been attacking the idea of National Monuments in general, but for them to come out and just say it out loud is shameful and alarming. Don't let big oil touch a square foot of any National Monument anywhere in the country. The song goes "This land was made for you and me", not "this land was made for oil barons clinging to their obsolete energy resources because it's the only way they know how to make a dime due to the fact that they've never worked a single day in their long, spoiled lives".

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  • Niki
    09/18/2017
    ···

    Absolutely not. Greedy and dirty extraction industries should not be allowed to destroy our national heritage for the sake of profits. Allowing destruction of our monuments defeats the purpose of having monuments in the first place, and offers no benefit whatsoever to the American public.

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  • Katharine
    09/18/2017
    ···

    No! Earth is a finite resource and we need to preserve and protect it for future generations!

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  • Marina
    09/18/2017
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    NO!!! These places are irreplaceable!! The whole world is moving toward renewable sources of energy, and this administration not only dragging US into middle ages, it also aims to permanently damage this land!

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  • Joanne
    09/18/2017
    ···

    No President has ever shown more disrespect and disregard for the American people's wish to protect water monuments and land monuments. They want to use these lands for mining, drilling, logging and commercial fishing. This will, of course, allow big money and lobbyists to make more money while destroying what is left of our beautiful earth and cause more harm to the wildlife that live there. For what seems like the millionth time, NO to anything/everything trump and his partners in crime want!!!

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  • Dave.Land
    09/20/2017
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    "Should the U.S. drill and mine for energy on national monuments?" What an absurd question. Protecting them for future generations, especially protecting them from permanent degradation by extractive Industries, is the whole POINT of national monuments. Money isn't everything. Some things must be preserved exactly as they are—untouched—no matter what lies beneath them, purely because they are beautiful. We need unspoiled places for ourselves and our progeny. Don't let mining and oil and gas companies ruin what's left of America's natural beauty. Stop them from destroying our nation for the benefit of a few.

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  • Curt
    09/18/2017
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    The action to remove or shrink National Monuments is shameful. Making public land available for mining and drilling will only lead to profits for private corporations. More people are employed by tourism and conservation efforts than mining and drill. We do not need additional sources of fossil fuels. It is a disingenuous industry trying to make as much profit as it can off the American people. Leave the National Monuments allow.

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  • Charlene
    09/20/2017
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    NO NOT EVER!!!

    Like (38)
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  • Erin
    09/18/2017
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    What Zinke is trying to do is disgusting. Our national monuments are a treasure, and he and the administration are trying to turn them into money makers. Is nothing sacred anymore?? Nothing? Did Zinke even take the public comments into consideration? I would imagine there weren't many in favor of decreasing them. Please fight to maintain our beautiful monuments as they are.

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  • torchy7272
    09/18/2017
    ···

    No designated national monument should be allocated for destructive business practices or corporate profits. These lands are designated for a reason and to suggest changes to the laws that protect the land and species inhabiting them is nothing but corporate greed! Instead of investing in a renewable energy option, this suggestion continues to focus on dead or dying industries to literally squeeze every last drop of profit possible. Stop destroying our home, show respect for the planet and insist on renewable energy policies instead of attacking protected lands on behalf of the fossil fuel industry.

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  • Nancy
    09/18/2017
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    No drilling for non renewable fossil fuels like oil and coal. Their supply on Planet Earth is limited. If this implemented, it would undo the work of President Theodore Roosevelt.

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  • Justin
    09/19/2017
    ···

    WE DO NOT WANT TO LOSE ANY PUBLIC LANDS TO TRUMP AND HIS CRONIES' HANDS! And not because of some "well-orchestrated" plot, but rather a well-founded urge to protect nature from these capitalist pigs. We do not need these lands for energy or economic reasons. What we do need is to stop wasting and using energy and capital superfluously! Why can't he broker some of trade deals to get what we "need" if he's such a great businessman? Why are the needs of native peoples and the Earth being "trumped" for inane policy decisions? Will you actually heed our call and cease raping the land past the point of no return? God help us all.

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  • PhilAlban
    09/19/2017
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    National Monuments and Parks are meant to keep pristine areas, areas of beauty and wonder, as a treasure for later generations of Americans to enjoy. For our children, grandchildren and their children. They are not get rich quick schemes for the already filthy rich.

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  • Deborah
    09/18/2017
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    No no no leave these beautiful pristine National Monuments alone stop trying to destroy them for money !

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  • Matt
    09/18/2017
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    Shrinking down protected ancient Native American sites in order to conserve less natural land in the era of climate change simply doesn't add up.

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  • Jerry
    09/18/2017
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    NO!!!

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  • Mary
    09/19/2017
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    Absolutely not! These are national treasures that should not be exploited for outdated energy sources or exploited at all. Keep them totally in their natural untouched beauty.

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  • Judith
    02/06/2018
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    No mining or drilling at National monuments or preserved lands. Mine your own business, Trump... not we the people’s! This is shameful!

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  • Christine
    09/20/2017
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    No! Part of the reason we are seeing all this natural disaster/ weather disaster is because the earth is a living breathing thing, and she is pissed. And quite honestly I can't say I blame her. The national monuments are places of peace and quiet for the planet and for the creatures that live here. Can't we keep somethings the way goddess intended and not exploit, profit and ruin every bit of land on this planet. The Republican Party and this administration will be the ruination of all that is good. Greedy AF, every damn one of them.

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  • Sandra
    09/21/2017
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    Big oil is going the way of coal. It is a dinosaur that is fighting to stay alive. So many money making players and consumers willing to buy. They won't quit while they can still make a penny no matter what the cost.

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