Washington, D.C. - Colorado U.S. Senator Michael Bennet today issued the below statement following President Trump's announcement to reduce Bears Ears and Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monuments.
"Since the beginning of this national monument review, the President has been in lock-step with a small number of Washington special interests to remove protections for public land in the West," Bennet said. "Today's announcement is no different. It disregards the wishes of a tribal coalition and ignores the input of Western leaders and businesses to initiate the single largest removal of protection for public lands in our nation's history. The designation of Bears Ears National Monument protected sacred land and gave our tribes-including the Ute Mountain Ute tribe and Southern Ute tribe-a voice in their future management. This reversal is a shameful addition to our nation's long and tragic history of broken promises to our tribes. Earlier generations would be disturbed to know that their legacy of protecting wild and sacred places is under assault by the President and his administration. We will fight this attempt every step of the way."
Bennet has been an adamant supporter and defender of Bears Ears. Specifically, he:
- Sent a letter to the President raising concerns about early reports of today's announcement, despite the fact that the U.S. Department of Agriculture did not recommend removal of U.S. Forest Service lands;
- Criticized the ill-conceived review process and Secretary Zinke's secret recommendation for 27 national monuments, which he sent to the President but did not make public;
- Held a press conference with Senate Democrats after the close of the Interior Department's comment period, urging the administration to keep existing national monument protections in place;
- Sent a letter with Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper to Secretary Zinke urging him to refrain from modifying any national monument designations in Colorado and warning him against taking unprecedented steps to diminish the size of Bears Ears;
- Sent a letter with 30 other Democratic senators condemning the President's Executive Order to review, and possibly modify or rescind, prior monument designations.
- Spoke on the Senate floor about the importance of our national monuments and the Antiquities Act;
- Sent a letter with eight other Western Democratic senators to the President urging him to uphold existing protections for all 157 national monuments, including Bears Ears;
- Supported continued protection for Bears Ears, calling on the administration to meet with tribal leadership before any decisions are made;
- Applauded the national monument proclamation for Bears Ears.