Trump is trying to shrink Bears Ears National Monument. Here’s why scientists are worried

Apr 27, 2017

By Carolyn Gramling

President Donald Trump signed an executive order yesterday calling on the Department of the Interior (DOI) to review “all Presidential designations or expansions of designations under the Antiquities Act made since January 1, 1996.”  Why would a new president with so much on his plate care about 24 parcels of land and sea that his three immediate predecessors decided to protect permanently?

The answer, not surprisingly, is politics. Opponents of such designations see them as unwanted federal interventions. And that’s why Trump has asked Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke to review those decisions, starting with an expanse of land in southeastern Utah surrounding a twin pair of mesas known as Bears Ears. Its designation was one of former President Barack Obama’s last acts in office.

“In December of last year alone, the federal government asserted this power over 1.35 million acres of land in Utah, known as Bears Ears—I’ve heard a lot about Bears Ears, and I hear it’s beautiful—over the profound objections of the citizens of Utah,” Trump said during a signing ceremony at DOI. “The Antiquities Act does not give the federal government unlimited power to lock up millions of acres of land and water, and it’s time we ended this abusive practice,” he added. 

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8 comments on “Trump is trying to shrink Bears Ears National Monument. Here’s why scientists are worried

  • “The Antiquities Act does not give the federal government unlimited
    power to lock up millions of acres of land and water for commercial development, and it’s time we
    ended this abusive practice,” he added.

    There, Donnie. I fixed it for ya.

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  • So while Trump is messing about trying to open up nature reserves and National parks to commercial development, despite Republican majorities in both houses and months in which to prepare, they cannot even carry out the basic responsibilities of government to set a budget on time!

    US budget: Scramble to avoid government shutdown

    US lawmakers are racing to debate legislation that will avert a feared government shutdown.

    The stop-gap bill would allow Congress an extra week to reach a deal to fund the government to the end of September.

    The legislation will first be debated in the House of Representatives on Friday, just hours before a deadline for funding federal agencies expires.

    Republicans have been forced to make several concessions, the latest on funding for so-called Obamacare.

    If the bill passes the House, as expected, the Senate will take it up and, if it continues its passage, it will be sent to President Donald Trump to be signed into law.

    The Republican-controlled Congress wants to avoid a government shutdown, which would close national parks and monuments, lay off federal employees and delay tax refund payments.

    The proposed bill would give lawmakers until 5 May to work out their differences on $1 trillion (£770bn) of funding until 30 September.

    Without the extension, federal agencies will run out of money by midnight on Friday (04:00 GMT Saturday).

    A shutdown would most probably trigger abrupt layoffs of hundreds of thousands of federal government workers until funding resumes.

    In a late-night meeting on Thursday, the House Rules Committee voted 8-2 to send the legislation to the House for debate on Friday.

    “I’m confident we will be able to pass a short-term extension,” said House Speaker Paul Ryan.

    What is the hold-up?

    There have been a number of key disputes.

    One is Mr Trump’s proposal to erect a wall on the US-Mexico border. He had to yield to Democrat demands not to include funding for it in the spending bill.

    Another was Obamacare, formally known as the Affordable Care Act.

    Mr Trump made scrapping it a key campaign pledge but he failed in an earlier attempt to get his own health plan through Congress.

    The Republicans wanted to include cuts to a key part of Obamacare in the budget deal but have now withdrawn that.

    It is also not clear whether the Republicans will be able to increase defence spending without also raising investment in other domestic programmes.

    Mr Trump has proposed $30bn in extra funds for the Pentagon for the rest of this fiscal year.

    Democrats had refused to support the bill unless it allowed for an Obamacare provision that paid health insurance companies to help keep medical costs down for low-income Americans.

    The resolution will also extend healthcare benefits for retired union coal miners through to 5 May. Those benefits would have expired on Friday as well.

    The sweeping spending package would combine 11 unfinished spending bills into a single “omnibus” bill, becoming the first bipartisan legislation under Mr Trump’s presidency.

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  • If he tried to shrink Bear Claws he’d soon hear back about it…

    erm….coat, I think…

    But before I leave I think there should be a class action brought by the kids of America, against Trump, for thefts of their rightful inheritance.

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  • Vicki #6
    Apr 28, 2017 at 11:35 am

    Cheer up Trump, there are plenty of sites left to ravage:


    Ah ! The wonders of Trumponomics!

    Meanwhile – back in the real world of markets and stranded assets!

    The oil price has fallen to a five-month low as investor concerns re-surface about a worldwide glut.

    Analysts said investors were worried that oil nations would fail to ease supply fears at a meeting later in May.

    They also pointed to higher-than-expected US oil production.

    Opec’s agreement in November, and subsequent supply cuts agreed by other oil producing countries, helped to boost prices earlier this year, said David Hunter, an energy industry analyst with Schneider Electric.

    But the market is getting a bit “jittery” as countries decide whether to extend those cuts, he said.

    Opec and other oil nations are meeting on 25 May where they will discuss the success of the six-month cutback and whether it should be deepened.

    Russia, one of the non-Opec countries to sign up to the cuts, gave mixed signals on Thursday about whether it would continue.

    “While the cartel is expected to extend a self-imposed production cap by another six months, it will be a challenge to convince several non-Opec members to follow suit,” said Abhishek Kumar, senior energy analyst at Interfax Energy’s Global Gas Analytics.

    “Persistent growth in US oil production … will also make extensions of the Opec cap beyond 2017 unlikely.”

    Data released on Tuesday indicated US crude stocks fell 930,000 barrels last week. Analysts had been expecting a drop of 2.3 million barrels.

    The US data and some investors “losing faith with Opec” are not helping the oil price, said Abhishek Deshpande, an oil analyst at Natixis.

    US oil giants Chevron and Exxon Mobil were two of the biggest fallers on Wall Street, dropping 2% and 1.3% respectively.

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  • Meanwhile the US looks like starting a trade war with Canada, in place of the Nafta trade agreement!

    Canada is considering multiple trade actions against the US in response to tariffs on softwood lumber.

    Canada and the US have long had a trade dispute over softwood lumber, with the US arguing that Canada unfairly subsidises its industry by charging minimal fees to log publicly owned lands.

    Last week, the US Commerce Department announced it will charge five Canadian softwood exporters duties ranging between 3.2% to 24.12% to make it a “level playing field”.

    Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said on Friday he was considering banning US coal exports in response to the “unfair” tax on Canadian lumber.

    The government is also looking at duties against several Oregon industries, the BBC has learnt.

    Oregon has been one of the loudest supporters of an up to 24% tax on Canadian softwood lumber.

    Mr Trudeau wrote to British Columbia (BC) premier Christy Clark to say that he was “carefully and seriously” considering trade action on coal exports. He said trade officials will explore next steps.

    Ms Clark had previously asked Ottawa to ban US thermal coal exports, and has said she will impose a tax on thermal coal entering BC ports regardless of the federal government’s decision, because “it is the right thing to do”.

    “We share the commitment to fighting climate change and protecting the environment,” Mr Trudeau wrote in his letter on Friday.

    “We strongly disagree with the US Department of Commerce’s decision to impose an unfair and punitive duty on Canadian softwood lumber.”

    The government is also considering imposing duties or other trade action on several Oregon industries, the BBC has learnt.

    This has nothing to do with US President Donald Trump, who has been a vocal opponent of Nafta and criticised Canada for protectionist dairy policies, the BBC is told.

    Instead, the government is considering levying duties on several Oregon industries, including wine, wood chips, plywood, flooring and packaging material, that receive state support which the Canadian government believes may constitute illegal subsidies.

    Democratic Oregon senator Ron Wyden is one of the biggest critics of the Canadian softwood lumber industry.

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