How can we protect our lands?
RIGHT NOW: We’re making the case against the administration’s actions and plans, and alerting our supporters and the public to tell administration officials that we want stronger, not weaker, protections for our national monuments and public lands.
IN THE MONTHS TO COME: We’re also closely monitoring legislation in Congress that would weaken the Antiquities Act, the law that gives presidents the authority to designate national monuments for protection. When a bill comes up for a vote, we’ll alert our members and the public to oppose it. Under the rules for most legislation, we will need only 41 votes in the U.S. Senate to stop it. In addition, we’re working to stop bills that would codify into law President Trump’s decisions to shrink Bears Ears and Grand Staircase-Escalante.
At some point, the question of whether President Trump has the authority to rescind or weaken national monuments declared by previous presidents will end up in court. Judges must follow the letter and spirit of the law, but public opinion counts. Public comments against the administration’s actions and public opposition to legislation targeting the Antiquities Act will bolster the case for keeping America’s national monuments protected.
IN THE LONG RUN: Ultimately, we need to win enough hearts and minds to our point of view so daring to weaken protections for America’s public lands would be a career-ending move for any elected official. That’s one more reason why our work to raise awareness and engage people in action matters.