Newsletter Archive

Ruins and Rocks, Bears Ears National Monument, Utah                                                    (Mike Painter)

May 15, 2017

Dear CalUWild friends —

This month’s Update is coming out much earlier than usual—and it’s one of the most important that we’ve sent out in a long time—because the administration is mounting an extremely serious attack on our public lands here in the U.S. We need to move very quickly in support of the Bears Ears National Monument designation in Utah and other national monuments around the country (Item 1).

Though I try to keep things as general as possible for people who aren’t working with these issues every day, I know that there has been a lot of detail in the last few Updates about various topics. And this month is no exception. So, if you have any questions or would like to have something clarified, please, do not hesitate to contact me.

Last week was an “interesting” one in Washington, to say the least, but amid the crisis, there was some good news: The Senate refused to overturn the Obama administration’s regulations on methane leaks from drilling on federal public and tribal lands. The vote was close: 49 in favor of overturning, 51 opposed. Three Republican senators—Susan Collins (ME), Lindsey Graham (SC), and John McCain (AZ)—joined all the Democrats in opposing the repeal.

Look for the next Update to come out in June, but in the interim, please check CalUWild’s Facebook page for occasional relevant articles or other information. Facebook has become an almost-necessary tool to reach people these days, so please “Like” and “Follow” CalUWild there, as it helps us expand our outreach into other communities.

Thanks for keeping up with things and for your support of our wilderness and public lands!

Best wishes,

1.   Bears Ears and Other National Monuments
          Review Period Open
          Comments Needed
          DEADLINES: May 26 & July 10
          (ACTION ITEM)
2.   Red Rock Bill Cosponsor Update
          (ACTION ITEM)

3.   Rep. Judy Chu Introduces Bill
          To Expand San Gabriel Mountains National Monument
          (ACTION ITEM)

4.   Interior Secretary Zinke Suspends
          BLM Citizens Resource Advisory Committees
          (ACTION ITEM)
5.   Job Announcement:
          Our Children’s Trust

6.   Links to Articles and Other Items of Interest


1.   Bears Ears and Other National Monuments
          Review Period Open
          Comments Needed
          DEADLINES: May 26 & July 10
          (ACTION ITEM)

In last month’s Update we mentioned that the White House had issued an executive order mandating a review of many of the national monuments designated since the Grand Staircase-Escalante in 1996. Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke announced some days later that the Department would hold a formal public comment period on the review, and the clock started ticking last Thursday with the publication of a notice in the Federal Register.

Because of the short timeline for the Bears Ears National Monument in Utah stated in the executive order (report due within 45 days), the comment period for that monument is open for a very brief total of 15 days. The deadline to submit comments is May 26.

Last week Interior Secretary Zinke visited the Bears Ears and Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monuments, as he had promised to do when he was confirmed. On the day before he arrived, more than 1,000 people rallied on the Utah state capitol steps in Salt Lake City in support of the Bears Ears.

Although it had been billed as a listening tour, Mr. Zinke mostly met with monument opponents, and he held no public meetings, in contrast to then-Secty. Sally Jewell’s visit last summer. He did meet for about an hour with the Bears Ears Inter-Tribal Coalition and also with Friends of Cedar Mesa, but he refused to meet with both Utah Diné-Bikéyah, the Navajo organization that initiated the monument campaign, and the Escalante-Boulder Chamber of Commerce, representing businesses that have seen good economic returns from the monument there. When asked about not meeting with the groups, Mr. Zinke replied: “That’s the breaks.”

Most of the time, it was Utah’s governor, Gary Herbert, and members of Utah’s congressional delegation and local officials who shepherded him around. Press reports of the visit were not at all encouraging, but Mr. Zinke insisted that he wanted to hear what everyone had to say and also that local opinions did not carry more weight than national ones, but that they should be heard.

Our friends at the Center for Western Priorities posted a brief video, checking some of Mr. Zinke’s filmed comments. It seems he doesn’t have a firm grasp of the facts surrounding the Bears Ears. And maybe he’s already made up his mind as to the review’s outcome—he talks about it being public land before the monument and after the monument. Was that a Freudian slip? We need to insist that the monument stays as is.

The Salt Lake Tribune published an editorial, with a description of the visit in the headline : Zinke’s visit didn’t include a balanced view.

The Washington Post ran a story yesterday: As Zinke listens in on the monumental divide at Utah’s Bears Ears, natives feel unheard.

Mr. Zinke’s Bears Ears decision will be the first test of his often-professed admiration for Teddy Roosevelt, who was the champion of the Antiquities Act when it was passed in 1906, and who used it regularly. Almost all presidents of both parties have used it since.

The Federal Register notice listed seven considerations for reviewing the monuments. They are listed below, with some talking points for the Bears Ears interspersed. Please take these into account when writing your comments. There’s no need to address each one if you don’t wish. Most important is to say you think the designation should stand as is. As always, if you have personal experiences that are relevant, make sure to include them in your comments.

In making the requisite determinations, the Secretary is directed to consider:

(i) The requirements and original objectives of the Act, including the Act’s requirement that reservations of land not exceed ”the smallest area compatible with the proper care and management of the objects to be protected”;

—   The area covered is necessarily large because of the widespread presence of archaeological sites. In fact, the tribal proposal included about 50% more area than was finally designated, and even that did not cover all areas in the region that contain resources worthy of protection. It could have stretched over to Canyons of the Ancient National Monument in Colorado (another of the monuments under review.

(ii) whether designated lands are appropriately classified under the Act as ”historic landmarks, historic and prehistoric structures, [or] other objects of historic or scientific interest”;

—   This criterion cannot be in dispute. Cedar Mesa and the Bears Ears have one of the highest concentrations of archaeological sites in the United States, if not the world. There are also paleontological resources in the monument, though some significant areas were left out.

(iii) the effects of a designation on the available uses of designated Federal lands, including consideration of the multiple-use policy of section 102(a)(7) of the Federal Land Policy and Management Act (43 U.S.C. 1701(a)(7)), as well as the effects on the available uses of Federal lands beyond the monument boundaries;

—   Existing resource leases will be honored, and the monument proclamation states that traditional uses of the land such as gathering of firewood and plant material for traditional tribal uses. Some areas, such as those with uranium, were left out of the monument, despite the fact that they also contained paleontological resources worthy of protection. This shows that the previous administration took many factors into account when making the designation.

(iv) the effects of a designation on the use and enjoyment of non-Federal lands within or beyond monument boundaries;

—   State Institutional Trust Lands within the boundaries could be the subject of later land exchange legislation. This happened after the Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument designation, and that exchange was very advantageous to the State of Utah.

(v) concerns of State, tribal, and local governments affected by a designation, including the economic development and fiscal condition of affected States, tribes, and localities;

—   The tribes themselves put forth the original monument proposal, and their concerns were addressed by the designation. Local communities only stand to benefit, as have almost all communities adjacent to protected lands over the years. Everyone agrees that the area is worthy of some kind of protection. Rep. Rob Bishop (R-UT) introduced legislation, part of which would have created a Bears Ears National Conservation Area, in Congress. The monument boundaries very closely match that legislation, leaving out about 1/3 of the tribal proposal. This is proof that the Obama Administration took local concerns into account when making the designation. Then-Interior Secretary Sally Jewell held open public meetings and talked with many people in Utah before the monument was designated.

(vi) the availability of Federal resources to properly manage designated areas; and

—   The area is already under BLM and Forest Service management, and the designation doesn’t necessarily increase the need for management, though increased visitation might create management needs in the future.

(vii) such other factors as the Secretary deems appropriate. 82 FR 20429-20430 (May 1, 2017).

—   The fact that the proposal came from sovereign Native American tribes is a critical factor that must be taken into account. It’s the first time that tribes have approached the federal government and offered to work together to protect an area of significance. The tribes’ proposal is sound and ought to be allowed to continue. The time period for comments is ridiculously short, and it is very objectionable that there are no public hearings or meetings scheduled for input toward a decision of this magnitude.

Feel free to add your own.

There are several ways to submit comments—either directly to the Department of the Interior (DoI) or via websites set up by interested organizations that will forward them to DoI.

Normally we would recommend going directly to DoI, but there is no requirement that DoI tally comments or release any other information to the public regarding its ultimate decision. There is concern that if Mr. Zinke has already decided to modify the Bears Ears designation in some way, DoI may simply collect comments and do what it likes, without releasing any tallies or other information. Therefore, it may be better to submit them via the organizational sites.

The organizations will deliver your comments and also keep copies of for their own records and tabulations. They can use these later as needed for public relations or other political or litigation purposes. (Of course, they may also keep your email address for their own future use, too, but you can always unsubscribe. And if you’re already a member of one of them, it can’t hurt.)

SUWA’s page has talking points and a further link to the submission form, which has no prepared text, so you need to write your own words.

These have prepared text that can be personalized and added to. We recommend deleting their text or rephrasing it in your own words and then adding your own thoughts. The agencies are very good at figuring out comments coming from mass emails, and they  discount them. (That is why CalUWild almost always includes talking points only and never sample letters.)

The Sierra Club’s page is here.

The Bears Ears Inter-Tribal Coalition form is here.

The Monuments for All page is currently devoted to the Bears Ears, but eventually will have additional comment sections for all of the national monuments being reviewed by Sec. Zinke.

You may submit comments directly to DoI online here. If for some reason that link doesn’t work, you can go to and enter ”DOI-2017-0002” in the Search bar and click ”Search”

Comments may also be submitted by U.S. Mail to:

Monument Review
U.S. Department of the Interior
1849 C Street NW.
Washington, DC  20240

You can attach files to your comments submitted via the website, or include them with your mailed comments, so include pictures of places you’ve visited. Especially effective are pictures with people in them, and if with children, so much the better, as these places need to be protected for future generations.

Here are just three articles of the many that have appeared regarding the Bears Ears and Secty. Zinke’s visit.

The Salt Lake Tribune published an article Zinke flies over Bears Ears as critics urge him to ‘Make San Juan County Great Again’ and rescind monument during his trip (including a video clip of him telling a young Navajo woman to “be nice” when she asked him repeatedly—because he ignored her—why he wasn’t meeting with the tribes in support of the monument) and this one summing up his visit: I gave Utah a voice, Zinke says as he departs from national-monument trip.

The New York Times published an op-ed by CalUWild’s Advisory Board member, Terry Tempest Williams: Will Bears Ears Be the Next Standing Rock?.

Regarding the other monuments under review, the deadline is July 10 for comments on the following monuments (with acreage), using the same criteria and addresses as above.

Grand Canyon-Parashant (1,014,000)
Ironwood Forest (128,917)
Sonoran Desert (486,149)
Vermilion Cliffs (279,568)

Berryessa Snow Mountain (330,780)
Carrizo Plain (204,107)
Giant Sequoia (327,760)
Mojave Trails (1,600,000)
San Gabriel Mountains (346,177)
Sand to Snow (154,000)

Canyons of the Ancients (175,160)

Craters of the Moon (737,525)

Katahdin Woods and Waters (87,563)

Upper Missouri River Breaks (377,346)

Basin and Range (703,585)
Gold Butte (296,937)

New Mexico
Organ Mountains-Desert Peaks (496,330)
Rio Grande del Norte (242,555)

Oregon (partly in California, too)
Cascade-Siskiyou  (100,000)

Grand Staircase-Escalante (1,700,00)

Washington State
Hanford Reach (194,450)

Marine National Monuments
Marianas Trench (60,938,240)
Northeast Canyons and Seamounts (3,114,320)
Pacific Remote Islands (55,608,320)
Papahānaumokuākea (89,600,000)
Rose Atoll (8,609,045)

There are too many to give detailed talking points for each. Many of them have “Friends of the Monument” groups, and as time goes on, those organizations will probably have more detailed suggestion s for comments. We’ll try to have links to some of them in the June Update.

One thing to keep in mind is that many of these monuments had some sort of protective legislation introduced in Congress that went nowhere. This is why the Obama Administration designated them. Also, the Obama Administration took great pains to involve local communities in the pre-designation process. Interior Secretary Sally Jewell held public meetings before many of them were designated. Finally, the Antiquities Act was passed by Congress in 1906, giving the President the authority to designate monuments on his own. It has been in place for 111 years and it has not been amended. There is no good reason to do so now.

Numerous items concerning national monuments have appeared in newspapers nationawide. It is good to see that the significance of this review is not being missed.

A New York Times editorial: Mr. Zinke, Keep Channeling Teddy Roosevelt

An op-ed by Timothy Egan, also in the New York TimesNo Country for This Old Man

The Los Angeles Times: Trump’s national monument plan could easily fail — but he’ll still declare victory

Modern Hiker has an extremely informative (and fun to read) webpage discussing the Antiquities Act and placing the present situation in the context of the Act’s long history of controversy.

Make sure to write a letter to the editor of your local paper, too.

2.   Red Rock Bill Cosponsor Update
          (ACTION ITEM)

Since our last UPDATE, the following House representatives have signed on as cosponsors to America’s Red Rock Wilderness Act, H.R. 2044:

Mark DeSaulnier (D-11)
Barbara Lee (D-13)
Zoe Lofgren (D-19)
Julia Brownley (D-26)
Adam Schiff (D-28)
Lucille Roybal-Allard (D-40)
Nanette Barragán (D-44)
Grace Napolitano (D-32)

Earlier cosponsors from California in this Congress, in addition to Rep. Lowenthal, are:

Jared Huffman (D-2)
Doris O. Matsui (D-6)
Jerry McNerney (D-9)
Jackie Speier (D-14)
Eric Swalwell (D-15)
Ro Khanna (D-17)
Anna Eshoo (D-18)

If you live in one of their districts, please contact their offices to say Thank You. (Too many people only ask their representatives to do things, but forget to thank them afterward!)

The following have not yet signed on. Constituent support is important to representatives when deciding to take action. Please contact them and ask them to cosponsor America’s Red Rock Wilderness Act.

John Garamendi (D-3)  *
Mike Thompson (D-5)  *
Ami Bera (D-7)
Jim Costa (D-16)
Jimmy Panetta (D-20)
Salud Carbajal (D-24)
Judy Chu (D-27)  *
Tony Cárdenas (D-29)  *
Brad Sherman (D-30)  *
Pete Aguilar (D-31)
Ted Lieu (D-33)  *
Norma Torres (D-35)
Raul Ruiz (D-36)
Karen Bass (D-37)
Linda Sánchez (D-38)  *
Mark Takano (D-41)  *
Maxine Waters (D-43)  *
J. Luis Correa (D-46)
Juan Vargas (D-51)
Scott Peters (D-52)
Susan Davis (D-53)  *

* cosponsor in a previous Congress

A simple phone call will do, or send a note via an online comment form on the representative’s website. Complete contact information for representatives may be found by following the links here .

In the Senate, Kamala Harris (D) has not cosponsored S. 948.

          Phone:   202-224-3553 or online here

A full list of cosponsors nationwide may be found here.

3.   Rep. Judy Chu Introduces Bill
          To Expand San Gabriel Mountains National Monument
          (ACTION ITEM)

CalUWild Advisory Board member Rep. Judy Chu (D-27) has been a longtime champion of public lands protection. She was instrumental in getting the San Gabriel Mountains National Monument (under review, above) designated. Now she’s introduced legislation to expand it and create an adjoining national conservation area, as well.

Please thank Rep. Chu:   DC Phone:   202-225-5464 or online (for constituents only) here

Our friends at the California Wilderness Coalition just sent out the following information about the bill, along with a request to Sen. Dianne Feinstein and Kamala Harris to introduce companion legislation in the Senate:

Growing, not revoking

Rep. Judy Chu has introduced legislation to expand the San Gabriel Mountains National Monument, a week after President Donald Trump ordered the review of the Monument and six others in California. Cosponsored by Representatives Grace Napolitano, Adam Schiff, Linda Sanchez, and Tony Cardenas. Chu’s H.R. 2323 proposes to add more than 109,000 acres to Monument, which was established in 2014 by President Barack Obama. The bill also proposes to establish a 51,000-acre San Gabriel National Recreation Area in the publicly-owned foothills adjacent to the Monument and along the lower San Gabriel River and Rio Hondo.

Upon introducing the San Gabriel Mountains, Foothills, and Rivers Protection Act last week, Rep. Chu released the following statement:

“President Trump has declared an open assault on our nation’s natural resources and outdoor spaces in favor of energy companies and oil exploration. Well I will not let him threaten our rivers, forests, wildlife, and outdoor opportunities in the San Gabriel Mountains. That is why I am proud to be reintroducing this bill to establish a National Recreation Area and expand monument designation boundaries.

“The designation of the San Gabriel Mountains as a national monument has already brought incredible dividends to our area, increasing access, safety, and trash clean up and creating more trails and services. By expanding the National Monument to include the western portions of the Angeles National Forest and establishing a National Recreation Area (NRA) along the foothills and San Gabriel River corridor, we can take this progress further by completing the vision of a city seamlessly and sustainably connected to its mountains, and mountains that are accessible for all.”

Email or phone Senator Dianne Feinstein and Senator Kamala Harris urging them to introduce a Senate companion bill to Rep. Chu’s bold legislation to expand the San Gabriel Mountains National Monument and establish the downstream National Recreation Area.

For more background on the bill, click here

Contact information:

          Sen. Dianne Feinstein:   DC Phone:   202-224-3841 or online here
          Sen. Kamala Harris:   DC Phone:   202-224-3553 or online here

4.   Interior Secretary Zinke Suspends
          BLM Citizens Resource Advisory Committees
          (ACTION ITEM)

We mentioned in our March UpdateItem 3.d, that Congress had revoked BLM’s new planning rules (via the same process discussed in the introduction, above). They had been developed to streamline the planning process and increase public involvement, while Secretary Zinke at the same time issued an order to BLM to develop new rules to streamline the planning process and increase public involvement.

This month, at the very time as the national monuments review is going on, Secretary Zinke suspended all meetings of BLM’s Resource Advisory Committees (RACs). These are made up of 10-15 citizens from various interest groups (ranching, environmental, resource extraction, etc.) that advise local BLM offices on management issues. So rather than use them as resources to assist with input on the reviews, the Secretary has decided to suspend their functions and review them at the same time. The RACS have been in existence since 1995.

Nearly 70 RAC members from across the West wrote a letter to Secty. Zinke requesting that the RACs be reinstated.

Sen. Dianne Feinstein and seven other Democratic senators (Wyden and Merkley of Oregon, Murray and Cantwell of Washington, Udall and Heinrich of New Mexico, and Bennet of Colorado) also wrote a letter to Secty. Zinke, objecting to the RACs’suspension. Sen. Wyden’s office issued an accompanying press release.

It’s too bad they are repeating this pattern.

Please thank Sen. Feinstein for signing onto the letter.

          DC Phone:   202-224-3841 or online here

The Denver Post printed an article regarding the RACs.

Since Secty. Zinke the focus of this item, we’ll share this from the Center for Western Priorities, which came in just as this Update was being finished:

Here are six reasons Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke is under pressure this week:

1.   His one-sided tour of Utah’s national monuments got noticed by The New York Times and Washington Post, which both highlighted the lack of tribal voices during his visit.

2.   Editorial boards in Utah and Arizona gave the trip scathing reviews.

3.   His fellow Montanan, Senator Jon Tester, wants to know why Zinke is withholding millions of dollars in fish and wildlife funding to states.

4.   Eight senators and 22 Montanans are demanding he reinstate citizen advisory panels across the country.

5.   As he took Vice President Pence on a horseback tour of a Montana coal mine to declare “the war on coal is over,” his boss cut a trade deal with China that hurts the American coal industry.

6.   His possible Deputy Secretary, David Bernhardt, is on track to have a rough time at his confirmation hearing this week.

Again, it’s nice to see the media paying attention.

5.   Job Announcement:
          Our Children’s Trust

You may have read reports in the press over the last year or so about an unprecedented lawsuit involving young people suing the federal government for failure to act to combat climate change. They keep winning their appeals against government attempts to dismiss the case. Our Children’s Trust, the organization coordinating the lawsuit has two job openings. Here is the announcement:

As we prepare for the “trial of the century” later this year, we’re building out the #youthvgov campaign to engage more and more people in supporting the youth plaintiffs and their historic effort. To that end, we’re hiring for two exciting full-time roles on the Our Children’s Trust team: Digital Storyteller and Field Organizer.

Digital Storyteller, San Francisco Bay Area (other locations considered)

Seeking experienced Digital Storyteller to execute and build digital and social media campaign for youth-led, constitutional and public trust climate legal campaign in the U.S. and abroad.  Serve as social media voice for non-profit organization supporting campaign, and engage growing supporter base on multiple platforms. Required Skills: Experience managing organizational social media strategy, passion for climate justice. Position available now; full health benefits included.

Field Organizer, Eugene, OR 

Seeking experienced community organizer to mobilize support for youth-led, constitutional and public trust legal actions in Oregon and other states. Required skills: Exceptional written and oral communication skills, collaboration, organizational, networking and motivational skills, volunteer management. Must be self-motivated with excellent judgment and have a passion for climate justice. Position available now; full health benefits included.

Learn more and apply now at

6.   Links to Articles and Other Items of Interest

There’s enough to read elsewhere this month, so we’ll keep it very brief.

If a link is broken or otherwise inaccessible, please send me an email, and I’ll fix it or send you a PDF copy. As always, inclusion of an item in this section does not imply agreement with the viewpoint expressed.

Back in March 2014, the U.S. EPA said would it would block the development of the Pebble Mine above Bristol Bay in Alaska. This week, the new EPA said it would allow the company to apply for permits. An article from The GuardianLocals dismayed as Trump’s EPA gives new life to controversial Alaska mine

An article in the Sacramento Bee‘These fish are in a bad way.’ How many more will die because of the Delta tunnels?

As always, if you ever have questions, suggestions, critiques, or wish to change your e-mail address or unsubscribe, all you have to do is send an email. For information on making a contribution to CalUWild, click here.

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