Step one: cleanse the skin?
The federal government owns just under half of all the land in the West (check out the map and chart below for more). But a rollback is underway.
Earlier this year, the president reduced the size of the Bears Ears and Grand Staircase-Escalante national monuments.
The Trump administration says some of the lands should be used “for the benefit and enjoyment of the people.” But it’s not clear if the executive orders the president has signed will improve access to the land or jeopardize it.
And there’s some misrepresentation on the part of the Trump administration regarding public support for their reductions. Factcheck.org’s Vanessa Schipani explains:
Department of Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke claimed the Navajo people who “live close” to Bears Ears National Monument “were all in support” of President Donald Trump’s decision to shrink the protected land. But tribe representatives told us that’s false.
In fact, the Navajo Nation and other indigenous tribes have sued the federal government over the president’s decision.
And documents obtained by The New York Times show that energy interests pushed for the monuments to be shrunk.
Who benefits from the rollbacks? Why are some courts pushing back? We’re taking the show on the road, and we’ll be live from KUER in Salt Lake City to discuss.
How Much Of Your State Is Publicly Owned?
This map shows how much land in each state is owned by the federal government. The redder the state, the higher the percentage of federal land.
And for those who aren't cartographically inclined, this chart breaks down the information by state.
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Preet Bharara is the former U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York.