WASHINGTON– The following may be attributed to American Farm Bureau Federation President Zippy Duvall:
“Today’s reduction in the size of the Bears Ears and Grand Staircase-Escalante monuments marks a return of common sense to environmental stewardship.
“The 1906 Antiquities Act was clear in its purpose, even if the government has not always been. It was designed to stop theft and destruction of archaeological sites and other federal lands of historic or scientific interest. The act requires the president to reserve ‘the smallest area compatible with the proper care and management of the objects to be protected.’ Unfortunately, that law has been abused to quarantine millions of acres of already-scarce grazing land, harming farmers, ranchers and struggling small towns across the West.
“Other presidents have established and reduced the size of monuments. Presidents Taft, Wilson, Coolidge, Eisenhower, and Kennedy all shrank the size of established monuments. Farm Bureau is pleased to see President Trump doing likewise at Bears Ears and the Grand Staircase-Escalante. This is different from the previous administration, which created and expanded more new national monuments than any other in U.S. history, locking up 5.44 million acres of land and 545 million acres of water resources in the process.
“Rural America continues to struggle economically, even as large cities boom. We hope Congress will also move to improve accountability and transparency in the designation of national monuments so that we do not once again find ourselves at the mercy of a remote bureaucracy. With common sense public policies, we can preserve antiquities while providing prosperity and opportunity for rural America.”