Environment

Biden Admin to Restore National Monuments

SK Ashby
Written by SK Ashby

Interior Secretary Deb Haaland -- the first Native American to ever hold a cabinet position -- is headed to Utah this week for an initial round of talks aimed at restoring the national monuments that were eviscerated by the Trump regime.

Beyond simply restoring what Trump destroyed, however, Haaland will also reportedly discuss the possibility of expanding the monuments.

Haaland, whose job gives her oversight of America’s vast public and tribal lands, will visit Utah’s San Juan and Kane counties to discuss the Bears Ears and Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monuments as part of a review of their boundaries launched by Joe Biden on the Democrat president’s first day in office, according to the Interior Department. [...]

President Barack Obama, a Democrat, had created the 1.3 million acre Bears Ears National Monument in 2016 under the U.S. Antiquities Act after tribes originally proposed the site to cover 1.9 million acres. Trump cut it to around 200,000 acres.

Grand Staircase-Escalante, meanwhile, was created by former President Bill Clinton, also a Democrat, in 1996 at 1.9 million acres and was cut roughly in half by Trump.

I've never been fortunate enough to travel out west and see these places for myself, but I would like to. If Republicans had their way, literally no stone would be left untouched by private enterprise and mining operations and none of us would get to see them in their original splendor.

But that's easy for me to say as a future tourist. For the tribes who call these places home, Trump's decision to gut the monuments was an encroachment on lands that never belonged to us in the first place.

Nominating and confirming historic cabinet members like Haaland -- and diversity in leadership generally speaking -- is not just a matter of checking a box for diversity's sake. You need diversity of life experience to effectively govern a country as diverse as the United States is. You need someone who actually understands the real-world impact of policies they're responsible for.

Trump's interior secretary, Ryan Zinke, was a corrupt stooge who criminally blocked a tribal casino project. I have to admit that particular scandal disappeared down my memory hole until I reflected back on the Interior Department under Trump.