We have until August 24th to speak for our National Monuments…
(Photo of Taylor McKinnon , Public Lands Campaign director for the Center for Biological Diversity, TucsonSentinal.com)
This week in our daily actions blog, we posted a letter from Sierra Club’s Jim Hines regarding the Trump administration’s response to the overwhelming number of comments to protect Bears Ears and other western national monuments. (Here’s the number as of today. It keeps growing as comments are tabulated.)
The short form: Five monuments with no discernable resources to remove will be left intact. Zinke will release a set of maps showing how the Administration will radically reduce the size of Bears Ears NM (Utah) and the Grand Staircase-Escalante NM (Utah). The maps will show that small fragmented segments of these National Monuments will remain intact but they’ll eliminate huge sections which have coal, copper, uranium as well as oil and gas.
(Update from Jim Hines: Parashant Grand Canyon-Parashant National Monument is safe!)
The fates of our monuments will be sealed between Zinke and Trump before August 24th, with news carefully constricted to prevent a large outcry.
This video describes what happened despite 80 years of work to get Bears Ears designated as a national monument…
Here’s a map showing where the resources our government wants to strip out are located in Bears Ears. The administration has similar maps for other monument sites.
We put together a quick visual reminder, crude as it is, for what we’re talking about here, natural landscape scraped away for drilling fields and uranium pits, along with the unseen toxicity left behind. Water, wildlife and our access will all be affected. All that’s missing is miles of chain link fencing.
Why do this?
Is the money so huge that states like Utah, one of the main drivers of this travesty, can’t resist?
“Last month, Patagonia founder and CEO Yvon Chouinard penned an op-ed titled The outdoor industry loves Utah; Does Utah love the outdoor industry? In the blog post, he pointed to the $12 billion in consumer spending and 122,000 jobs that outdoor recreation creates for the state of Utah each year.“The outdoor industry creates three times the amount of jobs than the fossil fuels industry, yet the Governor has spent most of his time in office trying to rip taxpayer-owned lands out from under us and hand them over to drilling and mining companies,” Yvon Chouinard said.”
Patagonia and other outdoor retailers helped drive this point home by relocating the Outdoor Retailer Trade show, a Utah tradition since 1996, to Colorado, along with the $45 million dollars of direct spending that came with it. But that’s just a drop in the recreational income bucket.
Will the states be better caretakers of these treasures than the federal government?
There is a cultural aspect to this fight too. And the government, again, is on the wrong side.
“The fight over Bears Ears is not the usual row between politicians who want to mine and drill the land and conservationists who want to preserve and ogle its natural splendor. It also pits natives who reside on reservations across three states against many Anglos — as some Navajo and Hopi people call white residents.”
Southern Utah Wilderness Alliance’s Legal Director Steve Bloch to help debunk the four myths that drive Utah’s conservative politicians’ rage against federal lands.
However, the meet-and-greet on site with the head of the Tribal commission, James Adakai, did not deter this runaway train. Zinke was politic enough to say “I think they are smart, capable, passionate, and have a deep sense of tie to their culture and want to preserve it,” he said of the monument advocates.” Like that mattered.
“Hatch wasn’t as polite, describing the Navajo, Hopi, Ute and Zuni tribal leaders who spearheaded the push for the designation as “clueless”.
“The Indians, they don’t fully understand that a lot of the things that they currently take for granted on those lands, they won’t be able to do if it’s made clearly into a monument or a wilderness,” the Salt Lake City Tribune quoted Hatch as saying.
The senator was asked to name something tribe members do now that a monument would disallow.
“That’d take too much time,” Hatch replied. “Just take my word for it.”
At the Blanding airport 300 miles south of Salt Lake the following day, Leonard Lee, a Navajo activist who stood near Adakai, spat on the ground before sharing his thoughts about Hatch’s comment. “It was an insult,” he said.”
Yes, Mr. Lee, that it was.
Trump stated “It’s time to end these abuses and return the control of the land to the people, the people of Utah”. (Clarification – NOT the Native people of Utah.) The president turned to praise Sen. Hatch, payback for helping him carry Utah in the presidential election when his victory there was in doubt. Hatch is also chairman of the Finance Committee, in charge of the tax overhaul and health-care bills.
Trump then signed the Executive Order to “review” Bears Ears and 26 other monuments.
Now that money will be re-directed to the “right” people, let’s look at other aspects…
Critics say these moves will imperil fragile habitats and the species that depend on them, while also depriving taxpayers of the returns they deserve on public resources. The moves also could slow the development of renewable energy sources, such as wind and solar, critics say.
The Navaho nation — some 27,000 square miles spread across Utah, New Mexico and Arizona that is home to more than 250,000 people and a number of uranium mines.
Many Navajo people have died of kidney failure and cancer, conditions linked to uranium contamination. And new research from the CDC shows uranium in babies born now.
And oil field are more than just ugly. There are a number of hazards from oil fields, that will also be part of Trump’s environmental legacy to us.
But what can we do?
Someday, when the credits roll on this chapter of American history, when some wide-eyed kid asks “…and then what did you do?“, you’ll be able to say “I did everything I possibly could have done. I joined with others and we fought back.”
Do what we did with health care.
Fight now. Call Every Day!
First, let’s make ol’ Zinke’s life miserable. Twitter: @SecretaryZinke (Zinke says that he reads every tweet) or phone at (202) 208-7351
Then call all your legislators.
Senator Feinstein: DC (202) 224-3841, LA (310) 914-7300, SF (415) 393-0707, SD (619) 231-9712, Fresno (559) 485-7430
Senator Harris: DC (202) 224-3553, LA (213) 894-5000, SAC (916) 448-2787, Fresno (559) 497-5109, SF (415) 355-9041, SD (619) 239-3884
Rep. Julia Brownley: (CA-26): DC (202) 225-5811, Oxnard (805) 379-1779, T.O. (805) 379-1779
Rep. Salud Carbajal: (CA-24): DC (202) 225-3601, SB (805) 730-1710 SLO (805) 546-8348
Other Senate/House Contacts: http://www.phoneyourrep.com
– Why Bears Ears is crucial for the Greater Canyonland landscape and for SE Utah National Parks.
– These are the politicians who want to sell of our land for spare parts (Murkowski plays big part.)
– This article is a little older, but it gives a good analysis of the income from recreation, and what we’re losing.
– Trout Unlimited – 30 days of Public Lands
– Bears Ears Coalition
– Sierra Club – Monuments
– Sierra Club – Issue Index “National Monuments”
Other Environmental issues
This week will have a number of environmental Daily Action Calls. So here we just have the trailer for Al Gore’s new movie and and article from him.
Al Gore: The Rich have subverted all reason.
OK, let’s have a couple moments of fun.
OK, let’s move on to single-payer, Medicare-for-all, unrepentant socialism, whatever.
The conservative case for single payer (PHNP)
It’s Time for the Adults in This Nation To Talk Seriously About Medicare for All (Common Dreams)
Charlie Gard’s case is tragic. But it’s not a warning about public health care. (WP)
Healthcare reform’s solution is hiding in plain sight. (Modern Health Care)
The Case against the Public Option (jacobinmag)
Health debate energizing Tucson “Medicare for All’ proponents (Tucson News)
Single payer Health system: Dr. Margaret Flowers and Michael Tanner discussed the feasibility of a government-funded national health insurance program for the US (C-span)
Why I was arrested while asking Sen. Portman to vote against TrumpCare (cleveland.com)
Meet the Democrats running on single payer health care (rollingstone.com)
Immigration – The tiny right hand doesn’t know what the tiny left hand is doing…
Stephen Miller – “This is a major promise to the American people to push for merit-based immigration reform that protects US workers, protects US taxpayers, and protects the US economy, and that prioritizes the needs of our own citizens, our own residents and our own workers.” (CNN)
As for the DACA kids, please watch this by clicking through to Youtube. It will make you cry with the waste of it all. Share this with everyone who doesn’t understand what this struggle is about, who thinks America can afford these losses of human potential.
Something that sounds positive to check out...
Our Julia Brownley is a member of this new Congressional Problem Solvers Caucus, which is working on health care ideas. They have a new website at www.NOLabel.org and there is a No Labels App, available in the Apple App Store to help people connect directly with their members of Congress. Let’s thank these MoCs who know the value of collaboration.
Current members listed here.
Why are we asking people to write so much?
We will be asking people to make a number of written comments as well as phone calls. The Trump Administration finds rolling back protections administratively much easier than straight-out law-making. If we don’t resist in writing, we will lose protections. Save EPA, a volunteer organization of former Environmental Protection Agency staffers, has recently published a guide for activists working against the Trump administration’s rolling back public protections issued by any federal agency. Their guide, explains this new government interaction and how to best make your concerns known. We were relieved to see that short, concise comments count as much as long ones and there are lots of other great tips.
How to make your calls to legislators faster.
Russian propaganda website tracker.
How to talk to Conservatives
Things to do…
Help former felon Floridians regain their rights to vote. (Miami Rights)
Promote Trans awareness through this excellent documentary series We’ve Been Around that celebrates the lives of a few transgender pioneers in history.
Trump knows nothing about Health care, Taxes or Trade. (motherjones)
Trump has quietly accomplished more than it appears. (atlantic)
Trump is an authoritarian by instinct, not ideology. (slate)
Behold the Trump boomerang effect. (slate)
Amy Siskind – Week 37 Experts in authoritarianism advise to kep a list of things shbtly changing around you.(medium.com)
How the GOP social security medicare doomsday machine works. (forbes)
Latest sneaky attemp to increase corporate political power. (billmoyers)
US elections are an easier target for Russian hackers than once thought (lattimes)
My party is in denial about Donald Trump (politico)
Changing our constitution – They are only 23 seats away. (dailykos)
Are Democrats finally waking up? (LA Progressive)
What happens if the election was a fraud. The Constitution doesn’t say. (fivethirtyeight)
How a ruling on Texas districts could help reshape Congress. (NYTimes)
Wisconsin’s voter ID law suppressed 2000,000 votes. Trump won by 23,000. (the nation)
Amazing acts of resistance weren’t taught to us in history class. (nationofchange)
Bob, you’re a Democrat, therefore you’re a union thug. (chicago now)
What Texas tell us about the latest threats to women’s health care (the New Yorker)
Outlaw pastor Rob Bell shakes up the Bible Belt (CNN)
John McCain isn’t a hero for not killing his constituents (nation)
(Thanks to other Indivisible members, my own and those who’ve kindly let me share in their Facebook groups, friends, Jim Hines from the Sierra Club, Jen Hofmann, Rogan’s List, as well as the vast internet)