Trump’s DOI Moves to Open Federal Land in Utah for Energy Production, Recreation

President Donald Trump directed the Department of Interior to open up more federal lands for energy production and recreation, including in Utah where he downsized massive amounts of land put off limits by the Obama administration. The Department of Interior announced the finalized plan last week even as environmentalists challenge Trump’s 2017 proclamations to return the boundaries Bears Ears and Grand Staircase Escalante monuments to be consistent with the Antiquities Act of 1906. The plan allows for leasing land in Utah for the mining of coal and drilling for oil and gas and for recreation and tourism. “The approved plans keep the commitment of this Administration to the families and communities of Utah that know and love this land the best and will care for these resources for many generations to come,” Casey Hammond, acting assistant secretary, land and minerals management, said in the DOI announcement. “These cooperatively developed and locally driven plans restore a prosperous future to communities too often dismissed and punished by unilateral decisions of those that would not listen to the voices of Utahns.” “I appreciate the President’s and Secretary [David] Bernhardt’s collaborative approach to both the Grand Staircase-Escalante and the Bears Ears national monuments,” Utah Governor Gary Herbert said in the announcement. “As the Antiquities Act itself states, and as I have reiterated for years, monuments should be as small as possible to protect artifacts and cultural resources.” “And they should not be created over the objections of local communities,” Herbert said. “I’m happy to see the administration develop management plans that protect areas with sensitive artifacts and yet still provide a way to use these lands for recreation, grazing, and management practices that will keep the lands healthy.” “The outcomes are always better when the federal government works with local communities rather than presumes to know what is best for them,” Hebert said. “These management plans are the result of meaningful collaboration that was clearly lacking in the politically-motivated monument designations by past administrations,” Rep. Robert Bishop (R-UT) said in the announcement. “Well-funded special interest groups that aren’t from our state will spread outrageous misinformation, but the fact remains that this administration has continued to take actions that reflect the will of Utahns who call these places home.” “When President Trump reduced the size of both Bear’s Ears and Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monuments, he did it with the full support of Utah’s federal delegation and the elected officials who represent those areas,” Rep. Chris Stewart (R-UT) said in the announcement. “By contrast, the Obama and Clinton administrations snubbed and ignored Utah’s local, state, and federal elected officials who objected to the creation of both monuments.”

Kudos to President Trump and his DOI for this way over-due common sense decision.  Both the Clinton and Obama administrations grossly abused the Antiquities Act to wall off huge swaths of public land; in effect exercising land grabs by the big brother federal government.  This restores much of that land back to the great state of Utah, and allows for energy exploration for our energy independence, and for recreation.  And, despite what the extreme enviro-wackos would have you believe, such activities CAN be done in an environmentally responsible manner.  Again, excellent decision!  For more, click on the text above.     🙂

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