Science | October 9, 2021 6:35 pm

Government Restores Environmental Protection to Bears Ears National Monument

A bold move from the current administration

Bears Ears
Bears Ears National Monument.
US Bureau of Land Management

In 2017, the Trump administration took a dramatic step regarding Bears Ears National Monument, located in southern Utah. As reported at the time, the then-president arrived in Utah and announced that the size of the national monument would be reduced by 83 percent. And while public sentiment was overwhelmingly opposed to this decision, the government’s plan went ahead — affecting both Bears Ears and Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monuments.

But what one administration can do, another can undo. Following the recommendation of Secretary of the Interior Deb Haaland, President Biden has issued an executive order restoring environmental protection to Bears Ears and Grand Staircase-Escalante, along with Northeast Canyons and Seamounts Marine in Rhode Island.

As Dharna Noor reported at Gizmodo, news of the president’s executive order was warmly greeted by a wide array of interested parties. Among their number were the Indigenous groups, who have longstanding ties to the region, as well as paleontologists and geologists, who have made significant discoveries there as well.

“The Monument represents a historic opportunity for the federal government to learn and incorporate our tribal land management practices that we developed over centuries and are needed more now than ever,” Shaun Chapoose, Chairman of the Ute Indian Tribe Business Committee and Bears Ears Inter-Tribal Coalition, told Gizmodo in a statement.

In recent years, Bears Ears has had to deal with instances of looting and vandalism to an extent that has disturbed many observers. Will this latest executive order put a stop to that? One can hope.