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Rallying to Keep Public Lands in Public Hands

Aug 25, 2017

Yesterday, the day Department of the Interior Secretary Zinke sent a secret report to President Trump recommending that whole swathes of America’s parks and monuments be shutdown, a crowd rallied outside the Department of the Interior to show disapproval of the sham “review” conducted by Secretary Zinke.  LCV’s deputy legislative director, Alex Taurel, spoke to the boisterous crowd, highlighting the wide public support for our public lands and calling for these places to remain permanently protected:

My name is Alex Taurel and I’m with the League of Conservation Voters.  

We have a message today for Donald Trump: “Keep your tiny hands off our public lands!” 

Say it with me.  “Keep your tiny hands off our public lands.” 

Everyone here who submitted a public comment—raise your hand.   

Congratulations—you’re part of the more than 2.7 million comments that people around the country submitted to the Department of the Interior, saying don’t mess with our parks and monuments.

2.7 million public comments saying we love our public lands.  

A report just came out showing that 99 percent of the total comments that came in were in favor of leaving our parks and monuments intact.  Ninety-nine percent support.   

What do you think, yes or no, should Secretary Zinke ignore the 99 percent of people who support our public lands and waters? 

It looks like Donald Trump and Ryan Zinke are preparing to ignore that virtual consensus.          

It looks like Trump and Zinke are going to stand with a miniscule slice of people in this country—literally the 1 percent who somehow think parks are a bad idea.  What do you all think?  Yes or no, will siding with such a fringe segment of people do ANYTHING to help salvage Trump’s presidency?     

So why is the Trump administration doing this, if it’s so unpopular? 

You all know the answer.  It turns out their friends in the oil industry and the mining industry and other special interests would love to get their hands on places like Bears Ears and Grand Staircase-Escalante and Giant Sequoia and the Northeast Canyons and Seamounts.  That’s the driving force behind this completely arbitrary and unscientific review that Secretary Zinke has conducted: selling out our public lands and waters to the highest bidder. 

So what are we all gonna do about it? 

We—the environmental community, the millions of people across the country who love public lands, the outdoor recreation industry, the tribes, the faith and veterans community—we collectively are gonna use every lawful tool at our disposal to resist this assault on our public lands and waters. 

If Trump signs an executive order shutting down a park, folks will see him in court for overstepping his authority.   

And if Zinke recommends that Congress shut down a park or strip a marine monument of its protections, well, bring it on.  We’ll rally people who care about our public lands and waters, we’ll stop that bill in its tracks, and we’ll hold accountable the anti-parks politicians who stood against the 99 percent of us who want to preserve our public treasures. 

Either way, this fight has just begun and I know we’re gonna win in the end.  LCV couldn’t be prouder to be in this fight with all of you and the millions of people across the country who love America’s great outdoors.  And we’re not gonna stop till we keep public lands in public hands.  Say it with me.  

Keep public lands in public hands.

Thank you!