Trump Team Shrinking Bears Ears, Coal vs Environment, Big Money Wins Again

In Utah, the Bear's Ears National Monument is about to experience the largest "shrinkage" of national land under federal protection in history. It is north of the Grand Canyon of Arizona, and located west of Colorado in Utah.  It is incredible country in the scope and for the fact that it has always been "sacred" and open, undeveloped nature, makes it even more special. 

Trump's team, led by Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke has proposed shrinking this unique and scenic  federally 'Protected" area, from 1,350,000 acres to 160,000 acres. The idea is devastating to the Navajo Indian tribe adjacent to it. They have long considered these scenic lands sacred and special. They do not want to see the lands crisscrossed by mining roads or commercial traffic. What is the allure? Some ranchers and local politicians want to open it up so that potential business, recreational companies, mining companies and possibly even resort companies and developers can make it a commercial area. If this is allowed, it could be a precedent to open the gates to the nation's protected lands to allow our parks, forests and special places to become commercial and industrial development centers.

Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke has already made proposals to "shrink" protected lands to President Trump. No president has ever reduced a monument by such a large volume of land. The President is expected to approved these recommendations from his Interior Secretary.

This runs in the face of policies by Obama, Bush, Ford, Nixon, Eisenhower, Truman and Franklin Roosevelt. Attorneys believe it could prompt a legal test of a century-old conservation law. It could begin a domino effect for large federally protected areas throughout the nation. The losers? The American people. Winners? Big oil, coal, drillers, miners, and corporations that contributed to Trump's election. 

Polls suggest that the American people do not favor this "shrinkage" of our nation's public lands.  

I recall fondly as a child my mother and father taking us to the great parks of the America West. We stopped to camp by a mountain stream, and as we built a campfire in a little clearing of pine trees, I asked my father:

"Dad, who owns this place?"  He said, "Ben, this belongs to the American people. Our wise government decided that every American should be able to enjoy and share the peace, quiet and beauty of untouched nature. That's why there aren't buildings and housing additions and mines and traffic. In America, these special places are protected, for us."  I thought what a cool nation the USA was, and I have always treasured those mountain forests and grand parks. Those respites away from the freeways, traffic, noise and trucks. When our leadership insists on "taking away" what is ours, so that big companies can dig, cut the trees, mine the soil, pollute the streams -- out of pure greed -- it seems that our leadership is stealing from us and giving some of our property, some of the quality of our lives, to a few rich companies, who in turn give our politicians money in thanks. Seems like we, the ordinary people of America, are the losers all around, when policies such as this take place. When Trump said: "We need to take our country back!" I now think I know what he meant. Take it back from the people, and give it to the fat cats.



In today's paper, a political leader said, "We want to take this land back from the tree huggers, nerd nose pickers and rock lickers." Well, my dad was a decorated Marine, and he taught us to be hard-working, self-sufficient people. He would have, and I as well take exception to political leaders who label and name call to put Americans who appreciate and love our forests, lakes and rivers and scenic canyon lands in a derogatory way. Roosevelt, Truman, Eisenhower, Reagan, the Bushes, Clinton, Ford, Carter and Obama, all respected and wanted to protect the special beautiful places from being denuded, mined, exploited and destroyed so that a few companies could enrich themselves. I am not a nerd nose picker or a rock licker, and I'd gladly oppose someone who wants to destroy or take away the protections from some of the world's most beautiful places here in America. If there is any shame in our current leadership and his minions, I say, "Shame on you. These kinds of actions will come back upon you. It is the way of the universe." 

Navajo Indians, the nearest neighbors, oppose it. But big mining, oil and uranium interests, many of whom were contributors to the Trump campaign, are calling for "pay back" in the form of actions such as this. Big money wins, and environment often takes it on the chin. Wake up Americans. Someone who says they "Want to take our country back" are taking it, no doubt.  But taking it for big mining, drilling, development and greedy industry. They are not taking it back for you, but from you.