Trump Targets 27 Preserves, from Maine to the Western Pacific
The Republican-dominated Senate did not go along with Trump’s proposal to let energy companies pollute our country as much as they want, but now another Trump administrator is presiding over a proposed land grab of our federal lands to enrich oil, gas and coal companies.
Trump has ordered his newly-installed Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke to review 27 national monuments and oceans preserves in the first batch of our federal land and waters that Trump is intent on helping energy companies despoil.
These include California’s Giant Sequoia National Monument, home of the world’s oldest trees, and 582,000-square-mile Papahānaumokuākea, the northwestern Hawaiian islands and waters that make up one of the largest marine conservation areas in the world.
Trump said in his executive order that national monuments may “create barriers to achieving energy independence” and “otherwise curtail economic growth.” He wants to revoke or shrink some of the national monuments in our country.
Greenpeace analyzed the land Trump has ordered reviewed and found 2.7 million acres, an area larger than Yellowstone, could have fossil fuels.
In 2015, the U.S. produced the vast majority of the energy it needed – about 91 percent.
Energy companies could end up ruining the beauty of our federal lands for oil and gas they can profit from in overseas markets.
On Wednesday, three Republican senators joined all 48 Democratic senators to defeat another Trump effort to help the oil industry. Their votes preserved a rule enacted under Obama that limits methane emissions from oil and natural gas drilling.
“We’re acting on the part of public health,” said Sen. Tom Udall (D-N.M.)
More than 90% of Utah’s Bear Ears, or 1.34 million acres, is on potential deposits of oil, natural gas and coal. Bears Ears, named after two buttes that rise more than 2,000 feet above the nearby land, includes cliff dwellings and the burial place of Navajo leader Manuelito.
The Utah Division of Oil, Gas and Mining approved applications to drill for oil on part of that land from EOG Resources. The Houston company faces a $500,000 penalty if it doesn’t begin drilling this year.
Grand Staircase-Escalante, also in Utah, and Canyons of the Ancients, in Colorado, and San Gabriel Mountains and Carrizo Plain, both in California, could contain vast amounts of oil, gas and coal, according to the Greenpeace analysis.
“People in this country who cannot afford the membership fee at Mar-a-Lago want unpolluted access to the public lands they love as citizens and own as taxpayers,” said Greenpeace USA spokesman Travis Nichols.