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Reps. Gallego and Grijalva Lead Call to Restore and Expand Protections for Bears Ears National Monument

April 14, 2021
Press Release

WASHINGTON, DC – Today, Rep. Ruben Gallego (D-AZ) and Natural Resources Chairman Raúl M. Grijalva led 47 Members of Congress in sending a letter urging the Biden Administration to immediately restore the boundaries of Bears Ears National Monument and to strongly consider expanding the Monument in line with the original proposal of the Bears Ears Inter-Tribal Coalition. After its designation as a National Monument in 2016, Bears Ears was slashed by illegal executive action under the Trump administration, leaving 85% of its land unprotected. This executive action is currently under review by the Biden administration.

In the letter, the Representatives ask that President Biden immediately restore full protections for Bears Ears, underlining that restoration is necessary to reject the harmful precedent set by the Trump Administration in unilaterally stripping protections from not only Bears Ears, but from Grand Staircase Escalante and Northeast Canyons and Seamounts Marine National Monuments. The letter also asks the administration to consider expanding the monument to the full 1.9 million acres proposed by the Bears Ears Inter-Tribal Coalition, a group of the Tribes whose ancestral lands are protected by the monument.

“I am proud to work with the Bears Ears Inter-Tribal Coalition and my fellow Representatives to once again advocate for protection of the sacred land of the Bears Ears National Monument,” said Rep Gallego. “We are grateful to have someone in the White House that understands the importance of upholding our federal trust responsibility to Tribes and engaging in meaningful Tribal consultation. The immediate restoration and potential expansion of Bears Ears National Monument is crucial to ensure that further damage to the over 100,000 Native American archaeological and sacred cultural sites in the areas is averted. I therefore urge President Biden to restore and expand Bears Ears National Monument.”

“We’ve been fighting to restore the national monuments desecrated by President Trump for years, and with President Biden and Secretary Haaland running the show we’re beginning to see the light at the end for the tunnel,” Chair Grijalva said. “Tribal voices have been the leaders in this fight, and I’m glad to stand beside them, Rep. Gallego, community members and public lands champions in calling on President Biden to fully restore protection for our treasured monuments in Utah.”

A copy of the signed letter can be found here. A similar letter led by Senator Durbin (D-IL) was also sent to the Biden administration.