Zinke Says Charges That Trump Stole Bears Ears Lands Are a Lie
At Monday’s press conference in Washington, D.C. Zinke opened by asking reporters to read and become familiar with the American Antiquities Act of 1906, so they would have an historical perspective on the actions taken by the Trump administration to greatly reduce the size of both the Bears Ears and Grand Staircase National Monuments.
The first question Zinke faced was from the Wall Street Journal referencing the charges leveled by Patagonia.
“Patagonia put a statement on its website stating ‘the President stole your land’ and called the monument reductions illegal,” asked reporter Jim Carlton.
“You mean Patagonia made in China?,” asked Zinke. “This is an example of a special interest, and to suggest he stole the land. Not one square inch was stolen, the federal estate remains intact, and yesterday’s actions in Bears Ears, when you restore national forest to a national forest, when you restore a wilderness study area to a wilderness study area, Bears Ears still remains larger than Zion and Bryce Canyon National Monuments combined.”
Zinke then addressed the source of the comments.
“Look, I understand fundraising for these special interest groups,” he said. “I think it’s shameful and appalling that they would blatantly lie in order to gain money in their coffers, and, by the way Jim, I don’t yield to pressure, only higher principles, and sound public policy is not based on threats of lawsuits, it’s based on doing what’s right.”
Bears Ears National Monument has been reduced in size by approximately 85 percent, while the Grand Staircase National Monument is now about half its original size.
Several Indian tribes have threatened to go to federal court to force the President to withdraw the boundary reductions.