“By restoring these national monuments, which were significantly cut back during the previous administration, President Biden is fulfilling a key promise and upholding the longstanding principle that America’s national parks, monuments, and other protected areas are to be protected for all time and for all people,” the fact sheet stated. It did not specify when the signing would take place.
Members of the Biden-Harris administration, the fact sheet said, “met with Members of Congress, state and local government officials, representatives of Tribal Nations, and a wide range of stakeholders” as part of its review.
Utah Republican Gov. Spencer Cox said earlier Thursday in a critical statement that he had been informed of the decision to expand the monuments’ size by Interior Secretary Deb Haaland.
“The President’s decision to enlarge the monuments again is a tragic missed opportunity — it fails to provide certainty as well as the funding for law enforcement, research, and other protections which the monuments need and which only Congressional action can offer,” Cox said.
“Bears Ears is sacred and it deserves to be protected,” Nez added.
Bear Ears National Monument will be restored to 1.36 million acres and the Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument will be restored to 1.87 million acres, according to the fact sheet. Additionally, protections for the Northeast Canyons and Seamounts monument off the coast of New England, as established under Obama, will be restored.
“The decision to re-expand the boundaries of Bears Ears and Grand Staircase-Escalante is a devastating blow to our state, local, and tribal leaders and our delegation,” Romney said. “The President squandered the opportunity to build consensus by working with stakeholders to find a permanent, legislative solution to resolve the longstanding dispute over the monuments’ boundaries & management, which would’ve brought certainty to and benefited all stakeholders.”
Others celebrated the move Thursday night, including the Natural Resources Defense Council, a large environmental advocacy organization.
“This begins a new chapter in managing Bears Ears that respects the tribes’ traditional knowledge in caring for this living landscape. We stand proudly with the five Native American tribes—the Navajo Nation, Hopi Tribe, Ute Indian Tribe, Ute Mountain Ute Tribe, and Pueblo of Zuni—who led the long and visionary effort to protect and restore Bears Ears,” said Manish Bapna, the president and CEO of the Natural Resources Defense Council, in a statement.
“Restoring the Canyons and Seamounts—an extraordinary underwater landscape full of ancient corals and sea creatures—preserves a living laboratory for scientists and will make our ocean more resilient in the face of climate change,” he continued.
This headline and story have been updated to reflect President Joe Biden will sign three proclamations restoring protections for the national monuments.