Hispanic Access Foundation (HAF) has launched an advertising campaign encouraging elected officials in Nevada, Colorado and New Mexico to speak out against the Trump Administration’s effort to rollback protections on national monuments both regionally and nationally.
“We all share the moral obligation to protect our outdoor heritage, to protect these special places and to preserve them as a legacy for future generations,” said Maite Arce, president and CEO of HAF. “Yet, with the rollback of national monuments in Utah, it’s clear that the small, deep-pocketed collective of special interests – those wanting to drill, mine or sell off our public lands to the highest bidder – are the only voices being heard.”
In December, President Trump announced the largest rollback of federal protections in history – Bears Ears National Monument and Grand Staircase-Escalante in Utah were being shrunk by 2 million acres. A day later Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke released his recommendations, which outlined plans to either shrink or open up the protected lands for mining, drilling or logging for at least eight more national monuments.
“These national monuments were the byproduct of years of coalition building and stakeholder input – community roundtables, comment periods, events, visits, joint letters, etc. – and demonstrate the widespread support for the historical, recreational and economic benefits of our public lands,” said Arce. “In ignoring their constituents and failing to speak out against the Trump Administration’s efforts, these elected officials are jeopardizing the cultural and outdoor heritage these national monuments represent.”
The actions of the Trump Administration run counter to concerns of the public at large. In total, at least 2.8 million comments were submitted during the DOI’s public commenting period with more than 99 percent in support of not closing or reducing the size of national monuments throughout the country. The 2017 Colorado College conservation poll showed that 80 percent of westerners back keeping national monuments in place, while only 13 percent support revoking them.
“We need our elected officials to recognize that the majority of their constituents don’t support the Administration’s efforts to rollback protections or sell off public lands,” explained Arce. “In each of these states, there is either a large or fast-growing Latino population that feels strongly about our national monuments. Our hope is that this campaign sparks a dialogue – it creates an atmosphere where all voices and concerns are heard.”