Debra Saunders’ column gets it wrong on national monuments

Debra J. Saunder’s commentary in the May 28 Herald purports to back Donald J. Trump decision to downsize two National Monuments in the state of Utah. She chastises an unknown Dean who got the name of the decision maker wrong.

It does happen and sometimes our mind plays tricks when we try to remember things on the fly. Nevertheless, she gloats. Now the tricky part, Ms. Saunders also plays with the facts. I will not attempt to debate the size of Bears Ears Monument, but her assertion that the downsize spans 201,876 acres, is incorrect. She compares the size of Bears Ears to the state of Rhode Island. Well, when I go to my globe, I have to use my magnifying glass to find Rhode Island.

It will fit in the corner of most states. The actual downsizing will reduce the size of Bears Ears by 85 percent, not the 200,000-plus mentioned. The nearby Grand Stairways-Escalante National Monument will be reduced by 45 percent or nearly half.

Ms. Saunders would have you believe that this will be good for the people of Utah. She failed to mention that the Antiquities Act of 1906, while giving the president the right to set aside public land for National Monument designation, does not give him the right to shrink such monuments. Also, she did not mention that at least five Indian tribes and others have filed lawsuits to prevent the downsizing. The president is in uncharted waters. Her attempt to make the Trump administration look good will please some but it is really misplaced. This is another attempt by Trump to undo anything done by Barack Obama and Bill Clinton, to make himself seem presidential. This is mean-spirited, cold-hearted and very much un-presidential. Nice try, Ms. Saunders.

Robert Lewis


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