BEARS EARS NATIONAL MONUMENT, UTAH (August 5, 2019) – The Bureau of Land Management on July 26th, 2019, announced the availability of their proposed Monument Management Plans (MMPs) and Final Environmental Impact Statement (FEIS) for the illegally revoked and replaced Bears Ears National Monument (BENM).
Despite repeated requests to halt the planning process until the courts review Trump’s illegal action the Administration barreled forward with a hasty plan and insufficient environmental review. The Administration now plans to open up over one million acres of this sacred landscape in the interests of increased energy exploration, off-road vehicle use and grazing.
Meanwhile Congressional oversight hearings and investigations continue to lay bare the political motivations behind stripping monument protections from thousands of sacred resources clearly eligible for protection under the Antiquities Act. Federal records and email correspondence demonstrate that former Interior Secretary Zinke was closely coordinating with politicians, industry, and non-Indian stakeholders in his review of the Bears Ears National Monument, Zinke all but turned his back on the sovereign tribal governments who had been entrusted to help manage the Monument.
This illegal, political and rushed process cannot stand. President Trump’s unlawful action left hundreds of thousands of priceless and significant cultural, natural and sacred objects unprotected. Not to mention the cultural practices and traditional tribal intellectual knowledge that would be lost or diminished. Bureau of Land Management and U.S. Forest Service MMPs and FEIS provide no rational basis to exclude these sites and objects.
The Bears Ears Inter-Tribal Coalition (Coalition), which includes the Hopi Tribe, Navajo Nation, Ute Mountain Ute Tribe, Ute Indian Tribe, and Pueblo of Zuni, strongly opposes the Bureau of Land Management and U.S. Forest Service’s premature conclusion of the BENM MMPs and FEIS and urges the original boundaries of the BENM be incorporated in the planning process to avoid desecration of sacred sites, resources and Traditional Cultural Properties contained in the 1.9 million acre Bears Ears landscape.
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This statement represents the joint views of the five Tribes making up the Coalition. Each Tribe, acting as sovereign nations, may also offer independent comments on the MMPs/FEIS.