Secretary Zinke has said he will not consider any comments regarding upholding
Bears Ears National Monument that were submitted prior to May 11. This is an
affront to public participation, and blatant hypocrisy.
Please sign our letter
below to the Department of Interior demanding that Secretary Zinke respect his
department’s years-long evaluation process for designating Bears Ears National
Monument, as well as honor the commitment we made to the native people who hold
Bears Ears sacred. You may also submit online comments on your own—and we
encourage you to do so—but only through this designated comment
form. (IMPORTANT: The July 10, 2017 deadline shown on the form does
not apply to Bears Ears comments, which must be submitted no later than May 26.)
And if you
haven’t yet, please take a moment to call your Senators and Representative to
let them know you value Bears Ears National Monument and oppose any effort to
revoke it or reduce its size.
U.S. Department of the Interior
1849 C Street NW
Washington, DC 20240
Dear Secretary Zinke,
We, the undersigned, are writing
to ask that you respect the years of work that had already been invested by your
department when President Obama designated Bears Ears National Monument on
December 28, 2016.
Interior staff carefully researched
and documented the rich natural, archeological, and cultural history of the
Bears Ears region in order to determine the smallest area compatible with the
proper care, management and protection of the Monument’s resources. Overturning
or overwriting the comprehensive efforts of your colleagues would be placing short-sighted
political goals before your foremost duty to protect and manage the nation's
natural resources and cultural heritage.
It would also be
renouncing the commitment the nation made to the Hopi Tribe, Navajo Nation, Ute
Mountain Ute Tribe, Pueblo of Zuni, and Ute Indian Tribe. They hold the Bears
Ears as a sacred place, and thousands of years’ worth of archeological evidence
supports their conviction. The Bears Ears designation, for the first time, gave
Native Americans a principal role in managing their cultural resources. Revoking
or reducing the size of Bears Ears after a cursory 45-day review would
disrespect the native people who consider Bears Ears sacred, and negotiated, in
good faith, their role in preserving it.
It is ironic that the
administration has made claims that Bears Ears National Monument was designated
without sufficient public input, given that you are now deciding the fate of
Bears Ears in just 45 days and have stated you will not consider the tens of
thousands of valid comments regarding Bears Ears National Monument that were
submitted prior to May 11.
Many of the crown jewels
of the National Park System you oversee, including Grand Canyon, Grand Teton,
Olympic, Bryce Canyon and Zion, were first protected not as parks but as
National Monuments. Today no one, not even the most rabid critics of the
Antiquities Act, would call for rescinding or shrinking the size of these
You have said you look to
Teddy Roosevelt as a role model. Please consider whether he would have chosen
to rescind Bears Ears National Monument when presented the choice.
Creek, Bears Ears National Monument—BLM