Skip to main content

Defend our National Monuments

Supporters Spoke up in this Action
Delivery to President Biden

Action Ended On

October 6, 2020

What Happens Next

On October 8, 2021, President Biden restored Bears Ears, Grand Staircase-Escalante, and Northeast Canyons and Seamounts National Monuments. This historic restoration would not have been possible without four years of committed activism by Earthjustice supporters like you.

What was at Stake

Our country’s national monuments hold precious cultural and biological significance, are incredibly popular, and funnel money into local economies. The previous presidential administration launched an unprecedented assault on these lands and waters in order to open them up for drilling, mining, and other commercial exploitation. Not only did it reject the values of conservation, the Trump administration dealt a blow to Tribes that had reached a hard-fought and historic agreement with the federal government over the shared management of Bears Ears. Through legal action, Earthjustice and our partners have countered every attempt to slash our national monuments, and we will not stop until they are protected once more. Interior Secretary Deb Haaland has recommended President Biden restore protections to the monuments and we urge him to heed her advice.

In its first day in office, the Biden-Harris team ordered a review of the Trump administration’s rollback of federal public land and marine protections. Former President Trump carved out nearly 2 million acres from Bears Ears and Grand Staircase–Escalante national monuments, representing the largest rollback of federal land protection in the nation’s history. Trump also enabled destructive commercial fishing practices in Northeast Canyons and Seamounts Marine National Monument off the coast of New England — 4,913 square miles of pristine ocean ecosystem. This removed one of the most valuable protections monument designation affords to the area, a biologically important habitat for whales, rare cold water corals, and other marine species. It also flew in the face of findings that nearby fisheries were actually more productive after the monument was created.

The new administration is now reviewing these destructive and illegal actions. Send a letter to thank the Biden-Harris team for the work they are doing and encourage the administration to fully restore and protect Grand Staircase-Escalante and Northeast Canyons and Seamounts Marine monument, and protect Bears Ears as the Tribes requested.

As Earthjustice's attorneys work in court to defend national monuments across the country, you are integral to the fight. The administration needs to hear that this is a priority for the American public. Restoring the monuments will help protect these irreplaceable natural places, cultural resources, and important habitat for wildlife while also helping heal the relationship of the federal government with Native American Tribes.

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.

Read More

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.