From cutting national monument protections to advancing a boondoggle pipeline draining Colorado River water, agency moves full steam ahead despite pandemic

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The Interior Department is advancing plans to construct a water pipeline originating in Glen Canyon National Recreation Area (pictured above) | Ken Xu

Last Friday, President Trump traveled to Maine to sign a proclamation rolling back essential protections for the only national monument off our Atlantic coast. The previous day, Trump signed an executive order aiming to greenlight drilling, mining, and highway projects by sidestepping bedrock conservation laws, removing critical public input opportunities on projects that disproportionately impact communities of color. The moves capped a particularly destructive week in which the Interior Department rolled back key environmental safeguards and advanced destructive policy changes.

Northeast Canyons and Seamounts Marine National Monument was established in 2016 to protect the edge of Georges Bank, an incredibly diverse and important fishery home to endangered whales and other rare species. Notably, the monument’s designation came after extensive discussions with regional stakeholders, from conservationists to fishermen. President Trump ordered the monument to be open to commercial fishing, directly undermining protections, even though federal data shows fishing revenues and landings did not decline after the monument’s designation. …


Jesse Prentice-Dunn

Policy Director | Center for Western Priorities | Denver, CO

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