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Monuments Review Wrap-Up and Next Steps

The Department of Interior recently closed their public comment period on the utterly unnecessary National Monuments review requested by President Trump’s Executive Order 13792. CalWild supporters like you contributed 1,621 comments of support for these public wonders. Along with our partners, big and small, 2.7 million comments were submitted – and an impressive 98% of these were in support of maintaining or expanding the current boundaries!

In particular, we were proud to step up and boldly defend the Giant Sequoia and Carrizo Plain National Monuments. We rallied with monuments advocates in San Luis Obispo and Sacramento and mobilized enough calls into the Kern County Board of Supervisors to prevent them from opposing a Giant Sequoia reduction.

Though we are tired of fighting for places we’ve already fought hard to protect years ago, these numbers validate what we and other conservationists have been saying all along – people want to keep these places protected and not open them to extractive practices that damage them for future generations. And we won’t acquiesce to misinformation about mismanagement because we know that these places need more funding, not less. Why? Because time and time again, the numbers show that federal public lands add value and jobs to the counties that host them.

A recent study by Conservation Science Partners did a terrific job of showing just how exceptional some of these Monuments are – check it out here.

What’s Next

Of course, the fight is far from over. While Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke has announced that the DOI will not seek changes to the Hanford Reach and Craters of the Moon monuments in Washington and Idaho, that announcement underscores a likely attempt to change the remaining 25 monuments under review. Announced a mere 2 days after the comments session was closed – hardly enough time to read a fraction of that 2.7 million – this move reveals just how arbitrary the decision-making is at the current DOI. The knee-jerk speed is also consistent with the impetuous behavior we’ve seen repeatedly from the Trump White House – which, let’s not forget, is the reason for this review in the first place.

CalWild’s plan is to continue stoking the fire that this review has sparked in our supporters by targeting the California legislators (Reps. LaMalfa, Cook, and McClintock) that requested monument reductions through the Congressional Western Caucus. You can take action on that here, and expect others in the coming weeks.

We are also bracing for the litigation that is bound to occur should the DOI pursue any reductions or de-designations for any California monuments. With California’s Attorney General and Governor (let alone most state legislators)  on our side, Trump and his team will have quite a court battle in front of them if they decide to go that route.

As we wait with our many partners for the final results of the review, which could come as soon as late August, we’ll be doing what we’re best at – organizing, collaborating, and hiking, making sure California’s wildest places stay off the chopping block.