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

by Countable | 8.24.17

What's the story?

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.

Why does it matter?

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)

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(272)
  • Gavin
    08/24/2017
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    Absolutely not! There are huge strides being made in sustainable, clean energy. That's the future. Do not destroy our country just for short term gains! National landmarks affect local communities in positive ways by attracting tourism. That's more of a sustainable economic driver than destroying a landmark for energy and leaving behind a pile of smoldering rubble for the locals to deal with. The types of jobs and the economic growth seen by these fossil fuel energy products are short lived and when the company eventually pulls out for greener pastures, the community is left worse off than they were before. Protect our national monuments!

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  • Sam
    08/24/2017
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    We cannot allow ourselves to deface our public lands in such a way. There are many options when it comes to locations for mining for energy, but the public lands should always be off limits. Many people count on those lands for recreation and preservation while we continue to see less and less open space around us. Allowing energy companies to move in is not in any way a conservation or preservation effort, so it is Secretary Zinke's job to deny them access.

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  • Carol
    08/24/2017
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    NO! ABSOLUTELY NOT!!!

    Like (31)
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  • Theresa
    08/24/2017
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    That's a ridiculous question. No!

    Like (24)
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  • Sarah
    08/24/2017
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    HELL NO!!! Please stop adding to the idiocy that's already in the WH!!

    Like (21)
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  • Joanne
    08/24/2017
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    NO mining for energy on National Monuments. trump and his fruit cakes want to destroy everything that is right and good in this world for profit. Let's just stop them already!!!

    Like (16)
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  • Maribeth
    08/24/2017
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    No drilling or mining in/on national monuments, parks, etc. The monuments and parks are protected by law and NOT to be exploited by greed.

    Like (14)
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  • David
    08/24/2017
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    Destroy our land so corporations could make millions is a slap in the face of all Americans!

    Like (12)
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  • Shari
    08/24/2017
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    Do not allow any change to the status of any national monuments. This attempt to declassify them is not for the national good but out of greed. They will be destroyed and add pollution to our fragile environment. Scientists and empirical research has proven that dirty energy pollutes our environment. Renewable energy however is clean and has the added side effect of creating jobs.....wow, it saves the environment and adds jobs to the economy, so what's the downside? Oh I forgot, renewable energy companies did not contribute to republican candidates.

    Like (8)
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  • Linda
    08/24/2017
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    NO! NO! NO! Why would you even think of allowing the destruction of our public lands. The only people who want this are extremely wealthy and are fighting against renewable energy. The American people do not want this to happen. Stop this madness.

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  • Terry
    08/24/2017
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    No! There should be some common sense here.

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  • Sharon
    08/24/2017
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    National monuments were created to preserve natural beauty, archaeology, and uniqueness for future generations. Once they are violated, even if drilling, etc. stops, they will not ever be the same. Habitat will be destroyed and the effects of that will vibrate through the ecosystem. The push to drill anywhere and everywhere is, in my view, the defiant efforts of some people, such as the Koch Brothers and the Mercer family, to wring the last possible dollars from the dying oil and gas and coal industries. They seem to use their enormous personal wealth to gain influence to our career-focused legislators by direct and indirect donations to campaigns. Greed and self-interest on the part of Trump - the most destructive president in decades - and his cronies should not override the responsibility of stewardship in protecting and preserving public land for the enjoyment of American citizens, both present and future. Stop Trump, Zinke, and those who would steal public lands from the citizens you are sworn to serve!

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  • Eddie
    08/24/2017
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    Since so many monuments were recently created, some for no discernible reason, and many with vast swaths of land in addition to whatever feature the monument preserves, it makes sense to evaluate each individually. Using the national lands designations as a political device is wrong from either side.

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  • JayinNC
    08/24/2017
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    No we need to continue to develop renewable fuels before we do anything like that.

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  • Christopher
    08/24/2017
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    No! We don't need fossil fuel anymore. We have the technology, so let's use it.

    Like (6)
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  • Monica
    08/24/2017
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    No, we need to preserve our national monuments!

    Like (6)
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  • Sam
    08/24/2017
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    Absolutely not! Join the rest of the world and private industry and develop clean and more cost effective energy sources.

    Like (5)
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  • Robert g.
    08/24/2017
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    National treasure such as our National parks should be left alone and not destroyed for profit. Once they are destroyed they can't be put back.

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  • Treedance
    08/24/2017
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    Not at all!! Despoiling our national sites for nonrenewable energy, which the burning of will lead to MORE pollution...how about preserving these sites and investing in clean, renewable energy!?!

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  • Quiara
    08/24/2017
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    No we should not drill or mine anywhere it is destructive to nature- ecosystems & our own health. We especially shouldn't in wild life preserves,national parks , or monuments.

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