In 2017, President Donald Trump reduced the size of Bears Ears and Escalante Grand Staircase monuments in Southern Utah by nearly 85% — the first such revocation of federal protection in our nation’s history. This reduction, which allowed for uranium mining companies to begin operating and has since been challenged in court by a coalition spanning from Native American tribes to the Patagonia clothing brand, represents a dangerous precedent sent by our departing president. By issuing the executive order, Trump signaled his party’s willingness to put our state’s beautiful environment at risk for the smallest of economic benefits.

The election of President-elect Joe Biden represents an opportunity to reinforce the outdated law that Trump defeated, the 1906 Antiquities Act. Utahns should encourage our representatives to pass legislation so that federal land protections can never again be revoked in order to protect our state’s natural beauty and resources for future generations.

Ryland Shaw, West Jordan