Hours after Donald Trump announced his administration’s decision to decimate Bears Ears National Monument by over 80% and Grand Staircase-Escalante by about 50%, Native American groups such as the Navajo Nation quickly filed lawsuits. After being invited to the table by the Obama administration to discuss the importance of preserving these areas, Native American tribes find themselves shut out of these recent conversations. Now the Trump administration is opening up much of that once-protected land to corporations to profit from. Conservation groups and even the CEO of outdoor gear retailer Patagonia have also expressed intention to file suit.
Outside a protest at Bears Ears this past summer, Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke told a young woman “we’re all nice and we all love public lands absolutely” (after first barking at her as seen in the AJ+ documentary above). Past statements by Zinke–not to mention his connection to the Whitefish scandal–has to beg the question: whose interests does he have in mind?
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