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Protected Lands

Issue

On the Couch today we're signal-boosting Patagonia's call to protect public lands. In an illegal move, 45 just reduced the size of Bears Ears and Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monuments. This is the largest elimination of protected land in American history.

  • Bears Ears National Monument: The highest density of cultural resources in the country is now at risk
  • Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument: An area bigger than Yosemite National Park is now at risk of industrialization

There is Broad Public Support for Protecting Federal Public Lands

  • Over 2.7 million public comments poured in during the Department of the Interior’s 60-day comment period—a record-breaking response. More than 98 percent of those comments expressed support for maintaining or expanding national monuments.

States Have Historically Sold Off Federal Lands

  • History shows that when the federal government grants, sells or otherwise gifts federal land to states, 70% of the land is sold to private interests, jeopardizing public access.
  • States have different rules for land management, and private lands are often not accessible to the general public, meaning the transfer of federal lands to private hands could impact outdoor activity and access.

It is a Myth that More Public Lands are Needed for Oil and Gas Development

  • 90% of U.S. public lands are open to oil and gas leasing and development; only 10 percent are protected for recreation, conservation and wildlife.
  • Over 7,500 approved drilling permits on federal land are undrilled and idled.
  • In 2015, oil companies produced 175 million barrels of crude oil from federal lands, up 60% from 2008.

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