US could reinstate ‘national monument’ boundaries reduced by Trump

US Home Secretary Deb Haaland advises Joe Biden to restore the boundaries of three former “national monuments” reduced by Donald Trump in 2017.

In a document kept secret, but viewed by the American media, Home Secretary Deb Haaland advises Joe Biden to reestablish the boundaries of three national monuments: Bears Ears, Grand Staircase-Escalante in Utah and a vast marine area off New England. In 2017, Donald Trump had reduced them, potentially opening them to market exploitation.

Since 1906, a law has allowed American presidents to unilaterally designate national monuments, protecting them from any exploitation. They are thus intended for scientific or ecological use. More than 150 national monuments are scattered across the United States, such as the birthplace of George Washington, the Grand Cayon-Parashant or the Jurassic.

In 2017, the Bears Ears National Monument grew from over 600,000 acres to around 89,000, and Staircase from 800,000 acres to 400,000, opening them up to large corporations or the oil and gas industry. This decision had been challenged in court, without success, and had alarmed paleontologists as well as Native American groups. Bears Ears is rich in fossils dating back hundreds of millions of years and is a sacred site to Native American nations.

Appointed in March 2021, Deb Haaland is the first Native American to take up a ministerial position. This is not the first time that she has taken the opposite view of the Trump era. On June 14, for example, she hoisted an LGBT flag on the pediment of her ministry, on the occasion of “pride month”. His predecessor had him deleted the words “sexual orientations”Of the administration’s anti-discrimination guide. A suppression felt, at the time, as a negation of discrimination against LGBT people.

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