SOURCE: Rolling Stone

DATE: August 24, 2019

SNIP: Under President Donald Trump, the United States has seen the largest reduction of nationally protected lands in the country’s history. One of the victims of the administration is Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument, which will soon be open to strip mining and gas extraction, according to a Bureau of Land Management document released on Friday.

“These management plans seek to cement the Trump administration legacy of destroying the Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument,” said Steve Bloch, legal director for the Southern Utah Wilderness Alliance. “That seems to be the objective certainly for excluded lands, which are going to be in large part available for mineral leasing and extractive development. To make matters worse, the BLM is going to prioritize motorized recreation across a large swath of the original 1.9 million acres.”

The plan identifies up to 700,000 acres that used to be federally protected that will be available to mining as well as oil and gas companies. Since the monument was reduced, 19 companies have already filed to begin work there. The plan also proposes allowing cattle to graze on the land, which the administration acknowledges could also lead to adverse environmental effects.

Just last month, the administration also published plans for Bears Ears National Monument, which it has reduced in size by 85 percent.

[NOTE: If you want to know more about ranching and mining interests in the West and how corrupt the whole thing is, read This Land: How Cowboys, Capitalism, and Corruption are Ruining the American West by Christopher Ketcham. It’s an eye opener.]