Durbin to Trump: Protect America's National Parks & Monuments

Introduces Legislation to Protect 9.2 Million Acres of Federal Land

WASHINGTON – As President Trump signed a new Executive Order to strip America’s National Parks and Monuments, U.S. Senator Dick Durbin (D-IL) introduced America’s Red Rock Wilderness Act, legislation to protect 9.2 million acres of land in Utah that is rich in archaeological resources and home to numerous rare plant and animal species.  In a speech on the Senate floor, Durbin explained how these landscapes are also the access point for many national parks and offer research, educational, and recreational opportunities for scientists, educators, outdoor enthusiasts, and American families.

“Today, I’m reintroducing the America’s Red Rock Wilderness Act. It would safeguard 9.2 million acres of Bureau of Land Management lands in Utah as wilderness,” said Durbin.  “Despite their pristine condition and their historical significance, these lands are threatened by oil and gas development as well as rampant off-road vehicle use.  Although these activities are appropriate in some places, they don’t belong in such a fragile landscape.  Designating these lands as wilderness would safeguard wildlife, protect ancestral lands, help mitigate climate change, and provide access to future generations of hunters, anglers, hikers, boaters, and lovers of the natural world.”

Durbin also took a moment on the Senate floor to address President Trump’s most recent Executive Order.

“The President’s decision to review these National Monuments puts the future of these resources in jeopardy and threatens our culture, history, and heritage.  And if President Donald Trump decides to use the Antiquities Act to reverse one of these monuments, he is going to be treading uncharted waters,” said Durbin.  “These monuments are for all of us, and we must ensure that they remain in their natural condition for current and future generations to enjoy.”

Video of Durbin’s remarks on the Senate floor are available here.

Audio of Durbin’s remarks on the Senate floor is available here.

Footage of Durbin’s remarks on the Senate floor is available here for TV Stations.

Durbin is joined by 17 colleagues in support of the legislation: U.S. Senators Tammy Baldwin (D-WI), Michael Bennett (D-CO), Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), Cory Booker (D-NJ), Al Franken (D-MN), Martin Heinrich (D-NM), Patrick Leahy (D-VT), Ed Markey (D-MA), Jeff Merkley (D-OR), Chris Murphy (D-CT), Gary Peters (D-MI), Jack Reed (D-RI), Brian Schatz (D-HI), Debbie Stabenow (D-MI), Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI), and Chris Van Hollen (D-MD).

The lands in America’s Red Rock Wilderness Act were selected through careful consideration by a group of volunteers with the Utah Wilderness Coalition.  The Bureau of Land Management, which currently oversees these lands, confirmed that the majority of the lands covered by the bill meet the qualifications for wilderness designation.

The bill is supported by the Southern Utah Wilderness Association, Sierra Club, and Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC).