Subject: RE: DOI-2017-0002
Dear Secretary Zinke,
Our national monuments, public lands, and waters help define who we are as a nation by telling the story of our historical, cultural, and natural heritage. Since President Theodore Roosevelt signed the Antiquities Act into law in 1906, 16 Presidents – 8 Republicans and 8 Democrats – have used the authority granted by the act to safeguard public lands, oceans, and historic sites in order to share America’s story with future generations. I am extremely disappointed that President Trump has signed an executive order that attempts to undermine our national monuments. I strongly urge you to oppose any efforts to eliminate or shrink our national monuments.
Nevada’s Gold Butte and Basin and Range National Monuments are exactly the types of landscapes the Antiquities Act was enacted to conserve. These monuments protect thousands of incredible cultural sites and artifacts, rare and threatened species, scenic and scientific wonders and the monumental work of art, City. Nevada’s national monuments preserve our history and inspire new generations of Nevadans to have pride in our state.
Both monuments are incredible recreation resources open to hunting, hiking, camping and riding off-road vehicles on designated roads. Protecting special places like Gold Butte National Monument encourages tourism, increases expenditures at local businesses, and creates a desirable place for people to live and work.
The monuments have the support of the vast majority of Nevadans and deserve to remain protected for future generations to enjoy. Nevadan’s fought long and hard to protect these special places. The process leading up to these monument designations included decades of discussion and negotiations, public meetings, and outreach to stakeholders across the spectrum. Local citizens, business and tourism leaders, youth groups, Tribal nations, elected officials, conservationists, archaeologists, recreationists, and many more all agree that they should be protected.
Additionally, Bears Ears National Monument in Utah, which is first on the list for this “review”, is a perfect example of the priceless historic, cultural and natural wonders that should be preserved as a National Monument. Protecting 100,000 archaeological and cultural sites the monument honors the voices of five tribes who joined together to seek protection of their shared ancestral lands and traditions, Bears Ears National Monument should remain protected permanently.
An attempt to attack one monument by rolling back protections would be an attack on them all. Sending a signal that protections for our shared history, culture, and natural treasures are not permanent would set a terrible precedent. This would discourage business investment and community growth around all national monuments while also sending the signal that our history and natural wonders are negotiable. Whether at Gold Butte or Basin and Range National Monuments in Nevada or other monuments across the country, our national monuments should remain protected for future generations to enjoy – they are a gift that belongs to all Americans.
I am firmly opposed to any effort to revoke or diminish protections for National Monuments. I urge you to support our public lands and waters, and recommend that our current national monuments remain protected.