CREDO stands up to protect our precious public lands

Republicans’ longtime plan to hand over national parks, monuments and other public lands to developers and the fossil fuel industry has a very good friend in Donald Trump.

During his campaign, Trump made every indication he would be a close ally of polluters and the fossil fuel industry and no friend of public lands, saying that he was “very much into fracking and drilling” and would attempt to revive the coal industry and open up federal lands to drilling. In 2014, Trump even praised right-wing anti-government rancher Cliven Bundy, best known for an armed standoff with federal and state officials over the use of public land.

And since Trump began occupying the White House, he hasn’t let his friends and donors in the fossil fuel industry down. Trump and his administration have been working to dismantle decades of conservation and environmental progress by appointing anti-environmentalists and zealous climate deniers to head up critical posts, speeding up the permit approval process to allow polluters to drill on public lands, and signing executive orders to put two decades of public lands designations – including iconic national monuments – in jeopardy.

CREDO has been a long-time supporter of public lands, and we have a history of fighting to protect them. During the Obama administration, we called on Pres. Obama to designate Bears Ears and Gold Butte as national monuments and pressured Congress not to block the designation of the Katahdin Woods and Water monument.

All three were major victories, but now these monuments, along with other important and fragile public lands, are under serious threat . In fact, the Washington Post recently reported that Ryan Zinke, Trump’s climate-denying interior secretary, will recommend that a number of national monuments designated by President Obama be shrunk and to allow drilling, mining or timber harvesting.

But we’re not backing down from this fight.

We’re organizing with our environmental allies nationwide to stop the Trump administration’s reckless giveaway to the fossil fuel industry. More than 125,000 CREDO members submitted public comments to the Department of the Interior urging the Trump administration to protect our national monuments. Just last week, CREDO launched a petition demanding Congress block the sale of public lands to developers, including in Utah’s Red Cliffs Conservation Area. You can sign that petition here.

Sept. 30 is National Public Lands Day, a day established to celebrate America’s public lands, where admission is free to all national parks and other public lands. We hope you will take advantage of this important day to enjoy our public lands – while remembering that it could only be a matter of time before right-wing politicians and corporate fossil fuel interests turn these protected areas into things of the past.