Clements: The American Farm Bureau Federation calls the reduction in size of two national monuments earlier this week a return of common sense to environmental stewardship. AFBF congressional relations director Ryan Yates says the announcement reduces restricted use of federal lands.
Yates: President Trump announced boundary changes to national monuments, the Bears Ears national monument, which was designated in the last months of the Obama administration, and the Grand Staircase-Escalante designated in 1996. Both of which carry a great deal of controversy from the original designations as how the designations ultimately were received at the time.
Clements: The two designations have historically impacted agriculture in a negative way.
Yates: As it pertains to agriculture, you had historic grazing rights that were eliminated with the stroke of a pen. It’s an inappropriate way to manage. The sheer size of just the land monuments in the last administration are roughly the size of New Hampshire. We should be involving the public in those decisions and we need to understand that there are human needs that need to be respected and those historic uses should be balanced across that landscape.
Clements: Moving forward, Yates says any decision to designate a national monument should go through a public process, and require a balance of use.
Yates: Any decision should be based in law, and it should go through a public process to ensure that all uses are respected and available for the public on their public land.
Clements: Micheal Clements, Washington.