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Defend our National Monuments

Delivery to the Department of the Interior and the Department of Commerce

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What’s At Stake

The last four years have seen the largest rollback of federal public land and marine protections in history, with the administration’s dogged attempts to open up these important monuments for drilling, mining, and commercial fishing. Our country’s national monuments are incredibly popular, funnel money into local economies, and hold precious cultural and biological significance. Every attempt to slash our national monuments has been met with legal action from Earthjustice — and we will not stop until protection for these national treasures is restored.

First came the carving out of nearly 2 million acres from Bears Ears and Grand Staircase–Escalante national monuments. Next on the chopping block was the the Northeast Canyons and Seamounts Marine National Monument off the coast of New England — 4,913 square miles of pristine ocean ecosystem which has now been opened to destructive commercial fishing practices.

If extractive industries get their way, these public lands will be shells of the significant places they once were. And the precedent it would create could threaten other national monuments. More oil and gas will be drilled, trees will be razed to the ground, Native American tribes will lose the cultural value and natural beauty of their ancestral lands, and marine life will lose precious habitat. The stakes are extremely high.

As Earthjustice's attorneys work in court to defend national monuments across the country, you are an important part of the fight to defend these monuments. Write to the Department of the Interior and the Department of Commerce and let them know why these national monuments are important to you and why they should be protected.

A moonlit arch rises over Grand Staircase-Escalante, a national monument under threat from the Trump administration.
Bob Wick / BLM

A moonlit arch rises over Grand Staircase-Escalante, a national monument under threat from the Trump administration.

Your Actions Matter

Your messages make a difference, even if we have leaders who don't want to listen. Here's why.

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You level the playing field.

Elected officials pay attention when they see that we are paying attention.

They may be hearing from industry lobbyists left and right, but hearing the stories of their constituents — that’s your power.

Our legislators serve at the pleasure of the people who gave them their job — you. When you contact your elected official, you’re putting a face and a name on an issue. Whether or not you voted for them, they work for you, for the duration of their term.

Make sure your elected officials know whose community and whose values they represent. (Find your local, state, and federal elected officials.)

Your action is with us in court.

If a federal agency finalizes a harmful action, the record of public comments provides a basis for bringing them into court.

Throughout each of the public comment periods we alert you to, Earthjustice’s attorneys are researching and writing in-depth, technical comments to submit — detailing how the regulation could and should be stronger to protect the environment, our communities, and our planet.

We need you to join us — your specific experiences, knowledge, and voice are crucial to add to the Administrative Record through the comment periods.

Lawsuits we file that challenge weak or harmful federal regulations rely on what was submitted during the comment period. The court can only look at documents that are in the Administrative Record — including the public comments — to decide if the agency did something improper.

Your actions aid our litigation. Taking action and submitting comments during a comment period is substantively important.

It’s the law.

Federal agencies must pause what they’re doing and ask for — and consider — your comment.

Many of us may have never heard of the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) and the Administrative Procedure Act (APA), but laws like these require our government to ask the public to weigh in before agencies adopt or change regulations.

Regulations essentially describe how federal agencies will carry out laws — including decisions that could undermine science, or weaken safeguards on public health.

Public comments are collected at various points throughout the federal government’s rulemaking process, including when a regulation is proposed and finalized. (Learn more about the rulemaking process.) These comments become part of the official, legal public record — the “Administrative Record.”

When the public responds with a huge outpouring of support for environmental protections, these individual messages collectively undercut politicians' attempts to claim otherwise.

What this means is each of us can take a role in shaping the rules our government creates — and ensuring those rules are fair and effective.