Looting of archaeological sites, uranium mining, off-road vehicle use and other activities have long threatened the area, and will now be curtailed.
Yet, extractive industries still have their eye on the monument. Chris Stewart (R-Utah) says he hopes to carve out coal reserves in Bears Ears National Monument, as the area is “not sensitive land.” On June 10th, Interior Secretary Zinke issued a recommendation to President Trump urging him to shrink the boundaries of Bears Ears National Monument.
The monument stretches across scenic mesas, towering sandstone cliffs and canyons that epitomize the beauty of southern Utah.
More than 100,000 Native American archaeological and cultural sites, some dating to 12,000 B. Tribes continue to visit these lands to hold ceremonies and to connect with their ancestors.
“Congress’s intent was clear: The Antiquities Act was to be used to protect the nation’s archaeological, scenic, and scientific wonders.
The law gives presidents the power to designate monuments on federal lands and waters—an authority granted by Congress that has for more than a century protected landscapes of extraordinary cultural, scientific and ecological value.
Every president since—with the exception of Presidents Nixon, Reagan and George H. Bush—has used the Antiquities Act to protect iconic places.
Undermining monument designations and protections would establish a dangerous precedent.
When President Theodore Roosevelt signed the Antiquities Act into law in 1906, he established a legal framework for the protection of national treasures.