Washington, DC – The Vet Voice Foundation (VVF), in partnership with the University of California, Irvine Environmental Law Clinic, is submitting a comment letter to the Bureau of Land Management, Canyon Country District Office, in response to the Draft Environmental Impact Statement and Draft Monument Management Plans for the Shash Jáa and Indian Creek Units of the Bears Ears National Monument.
“Vet Voice Foundation works to ensure that our public lands stay in public hands,” said Garett Reppenhagen, Iraq War Veteran and Rocky Mountain Director for Vet Voice. “Bears Ears National Monument provides opportunities for recreation and recovery from the trauma and stresses of war and reintegration. And we believe that our public lands are part of our country’s heritage and must be passed down to future generations. Our public lands belong to all of us. As a veteran, I want to see these lands protected. After all, we served to ensure these lands remain free and for all to enjoy.”
On December 28, 2016, President Barack Obama exercised his authority under the Antiquities Act to establish the Bears Ears National Monument—designating nearly 1.35 million acres of public lands as the national monument. However, on December 4, 2017 President Donald Trump signed Presidential Proclamation 9681 modifying the boundaries of the Bears Ears National Monument. Specifically, the Trump Proclamation excluded 1.15 million acres from the Monument’s original boundaries. This land is now under threat to be opened to mining, off- highway vehicle use, oil and gas leases, and road construction.
In the letter, Vet Voice Foundation urged the Bureau of Land Management and the U.S. Forest Service to ensure the protection of the lands and resources contained within Bears Ears National Monument. VVF is requesting the same level of protections for resources on all of the lands originally designated as Bears Ears National Monument; or staying current the Draft Environmental Impact Statement and Draft Monument Management Plans process until the resolution of the pending litigation challenging the constitutionality and lawfulness of President Donald J. Trump’s reduction of Bears Ears National Monument.
The Vet Voice Foundation will continue to fight for the protections of Bears Ears National Monument.