WASHINGTON -- Interior Secretary Deb Haaland recommended that President Biden fully restore the original boundaries of Utah’s Bears Ears and Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monuments, according to reports. She also reportedly advised full protections for the Northeast Canyons and Seamounts Marine National Monument off the coast of New England.
The three monuments had been downsized or weakened by former President Donald Trump. His actions were an unprecedented use of the Antiquities Act, which gives the president the power to create national monuments,
In response, Environment America Public Lands Campaign Director Ellen Montgomery issued the following statement:
“TThe time is right for President Biden to follow through on his campaign promises and take important action aimed at at protecting our lands and waters. All three of these areas recommended for protection by Secretary Haaland are unique and beautiful places. Presidents Clinton and Obama made the right decisions when they established these monuments. But President Trump took a decidedly wrong turn when he set plans to shrink Bears Ears and Grand Staircase-Escalante. And he was equally mistaken to remove protection from Northeast Canyons and Seamounts. With direct action from the administration, the Utah monuments can be protected for new generations of hikers, climbers and archaeologists. Beyond that, clear-headed decision making right now will also safeguard critical areas for endangered species like fin whales and sei whales. All of this is necessary to protect our country’s natural heritage for today and for future years to come.”