Grijalva on Antiquities Act Order: “Reviewing Natl. Monuments Will Show What We Already Know – They’re Popular and Beneficial”

Washington, D.C. – Ranking Member Raúl M. Grijalva (D-Ariz.) today released the following statement on the newly announced executive order directing the Department of the Interior to review the establishment history and current status of national monuments created since 1996 under the Antiquities Act. The order comes as Republicans in Congress, including Chairman Rob Bishop (R-Utah), urge Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke and the Trump administration unilaterally to wipe out or shrink Utah’s Bears Ears National Monument and other national monuments around the west.

“Elections have consequences, and if President Trump is uninterested in joining the long line of his predecessors who identified and preserved new national monuments, that is his decision. If the only monuments Donald Trump wants are hotels, so be it. But the elections in 1996, 2000 and 2008 had consequences as well, and the national monuments established by those presidents are not subject to Donald Trump’s whims.

“Attempting to wipe national monuments off the map with the stroke of a pen would be illegal and unpopular, and this review will show as much. If done in good faith, this review will lead President Trump and Secretary Zinke to see these wonderful places as the American people see them: as sources of national pride and engines for local economic development.

“Requiring extensive ‘review’ of monuments while abolishing almost all review of new mining or drilling is evidence of bad faith, however. If this ‘review’ turns out to be a pretext for a smash-and-grab operation designed to destroy a legacy of conservation built over decades, we will fight it all the way.

“In addition to preserving the great outdoors and proudly representing our nation’s history, the national monuments named since 1996 under the Antiquities Act have produced important revenue for nearby communities. Since Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument was established, population in nearby Garfield and Kane counties grew by 8 percent, real personal income grew by 40 percent, jobs grew by 38 percent and real per capita income grew by 30 percent (source). In 2010, per capita income in western non-metropolitan counties with 100,000 acres of protected public lands was on average $4,360 higher than per capita income in similar counties with no protected public lands (source). Outdoor recreation across the country generates $887 billion in consumer spending and 7.6 million jobs (source).

“A review of these monuments with an eye to their futures cannot be an ideological exercise. It must account for their undeniable importance to our nation as a whole and to the communities they support.

“As we saw with the widely covered planning process for Bears Ears National Monument, national monuments are established after years of close federal consultation with multiple local stakeholders. They are the product of careful consideration and extraordinary scientific and historical analysis. A review of any national monument, if done in good faith, will acknowledge the rich history of these special places and show some respect for the work done by those who occupied the White House before this president.”

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