Last night we learned that today, Wednesday, the administration will issue an executive order calling for a review of 27 national monuments over 100,000 acres, dating back to 1996.
A review this broad-ranging is unprecedented and that is obviously cause for concern.
The order itself does not rescind existing national monuments but it does leave that open as an option, along with reducing or resizing them. That is a threat to the integrity of our public lands, which millions of Americans see as national treasures.
Thanks to the work of 16 presidents over more than 100 years from both parties, today our national public lands are for all Americans. Our public lands benefit from huge bipartisan support and have passionate supporters on both the left and the right of the political spectrum. And we are encouraged that Secretary Zinke has said, again, that “nobody loves public lands more than I do. You can love them the same. But not more.”
We understand that the review will include focus on these lands’ economic value. Just this morning, the industry launched its latest economic impact report, showing the outdoor industry supports 7.6M sustainable American jobs and nearly $900B in consumer spending and $125B in tax revenue. That positive impact extends from our largest cities to the vitality of our rural communities. In that light, we believe there is a compelling case to maintain the integrity of our existing national monuments.
REI is engaging directly with our elected officials from both parties. We’re working across the outdoor industry to ensure that our collective passion for public lands and their economic and societal value is clear. Our 16 million members can be assured that we believe – as Teddy Roosevelt said – our public lands should be left stronger and healthier for future generations.
That is a significant responsibility for the Secretary of Interior and his department to live up to, and so REI will help provide all the evidence and support needed to prove just how much the outdoor community loves these iconic places and the way of life they make possible.