Environment | Opinion | Politics

Terry Tempest Williams: Will Bears Ears be the next Standing Rock?





Secretary Ryan Zinke, the new leader of the Department of the Interior, is meeting with tribal, local and state officials in Utah to talk about the future of the Bears Ears National Monument. Author and professor Terry Tempest Williams wonders where the fight to protect 1.35-million acres of sacred places and ancestral territory will turn into a new movement:
After seven years of organizing, the Bears Ears Intertribal Coalition — made up of the Hopi, Navajo, Uintah and Ouray Ute, Ute Mountain Ute and Zuni Nations — played a key role in securing the protection of 1.35 million acres surrounding Bears Ears from development and resource extraction just before President Obama left office.

But in our climate of political myopia, President Trump recently ordered the Interior Department to review the size and scope of national monuments larger than 100,000 acres created since 1996. He complained that these designations “unilaterally put millions of acres of land and water under strict federal control,” called them a “massive federal land grab” and directed Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke to review and reverse some of them.

There is a subtext here, as his order made clear. Monument designations, the document said, can “create barriers to achieving energy independence” and “otherwise curtail economic growth.” Among the likely beneficiaries of any reversals are the oil and gas industries, mining and logging interests and commercial development.

In issuing this order, President Trump — who has never visited Bears Ears — apparently chose to listen to the bellicose politicians of Utah and do the bidding of Senator Orrin Hatch and Representatives Rob Bishop and Jason Chaffetz, who complain that Utahns were cut out of the process. Call that another alternative fact.

Read More on the Story:
Robert Redford: Don’t take Bears Ears away from us (The Salt Lake Tribune 5/6)
Brian Jones: What Bears Ears is really like (The Salt Lake Tribune 5/4)

Also Today:
Zinke says monument designations have been an ‘effective tool,’ though ‘very few ... are to the scale of the recent actions’ (The Salt Lake Tribune 5/7)
Zinke starts review of Utah’s Bears Ears National Monument (AP 5/7)
Supporters of Bears Ears, Grand Staircase rally in advance of Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke’s visit (The Salt Lake Tribune 5/6)
Rallies over Bears Ears act as prelude to Zinke's visit (The Deseret News 5/6)
Zinke kicks off monuments review this weekend. Up first: Utah’s Bears Ears and Staircase (The Salt Lake Tribune 5/5)
With National Monuments Under Review, Bears Ears Is Focus Of Fierce Debate (National Public Radio 5/5)

Related Stories:
Tribes vow fight in effort to protect Bears Ears National Monument (May 3,2017)
Tribes encounter silence from Secretary Zinke in Bears Ears review (May 2, 2017)
Ute Tribe demands 'voice' as Trump orders review of Bears Ears (April 28, 2017)
Trump singles out Bears Ears as an 'abuse' of government's power(April 26, 2017)
Jacqueline Keeler: New monument marks victory for tribal sites (January 10, 2017)
Tribes celebrate designation of national monument at Bears Ears (January 9, 2017)
Mike Lee: Don't declare monument at sacred Bears Ears in Utah (December 13, 2016)
Sacred land protection efforts face questions with Donald Trump (November 18, 2016)
Emotions run strong as #NoDAPL seeps into debate on controversial public lands bill (September 14, 2016)
Editorial: Bears Ears in Utah deserves protection as new monument (August 1, 2016)
Tweedy Sombrero Navarrete: A Christian call to protect sacred land (July 29, 2016)
Richard Moe: Protect sacred and ancestral sites at Bears Ears (July 20, 2016)
Tribes gear up for fight over protections for sacred land in Utah (July 15, 2016)
Rebecca Benally: Navajos in Utah oppose Bears Ears monument (April 13, 2016)
Non-Indian official decries effort to protect sacred lands in Utah (March 15, 2016)
Tribes oppose effort to stop Bears Ears National Monument in Utah (March 10, 2016)
Regina Lopez-Whiteskunk: Protect Bears Ears for new generations (March 4, 2016)
Obama weighs tribal request for Bears Ears National Monument (February 12, 2016)
Tribes reiterate bid for national monument at Bears Ears in Utah (January 22, 2016)
Navajo Nation Council dispels misinformation about Bears Ears (October 29, 2015)
Tribes call for establishment of Bears Ears National Monument (October 16, 2015)
Jim Enote: Bears Ears worthy of status as national monument (October 14, 2015)
Tribes call for new national monument on sacred lands in Utah (August 5, 2015)