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The Conservation Alliance Funds Legal Challenges to Trump Assault on National Monuments

The Conservation Alliance Staff, left to right: Kirsten Blackburn; Josie Norris; John Sterling and Serena Gordon.

The Conservation Alliance made a $75,000 grant to Earthjustice today, supporting the organization’s legal challenges to President Trump’s unprecedented changes to national monument boundaries. The grant is the largest contribution The Conservation Alliance has ever made to one organization, and will support litigation aimed at halting changes to national monuments throughout the Western US.

Yesterday, President Trump signed an executive order that attempts to shrink the boundaries of Bears Ears and Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monuments. His order reduces Bears Ears by 85 percent, and cuts Grand Staircase-Escalante in half. Within hours, Earthjustice filed suit to defend Grand Staircase-Escalante, and plans to file in support of Bears Ears later in the week. Earthjustice is representing eight organizations charging that the president violated the 1906 Antiquities Act by stripping monument protections from these national treasures.

“President Trump is attempting what could be the largest rollback of public lands protections in American history by axing the Grand Staircase-Escalante and Bears Ears National Monuments,” said Heidi McIntosh, Earthjustice’s managing attorney in the Rocky Mountains region. “But his proclamations are illegal. And they will be met by a roar of disapproval from the American people who love these lands and who stand by the Native American tribes for whom these lands are sacred.”

The Conservation Alliance invested heavily in the organizations that led the effort to secure national monument designation for Bears Ears and nine other monuments during the Obama Administration. Each of these landscapes has significant outdoor recreation, cultural, wildlife, and scientific value. President Trump ordered a review of national monuments earlier this year, during which three million Americans submitted comments. More than 99 percent of those comments urged President Trump and Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke to leave all monuments under review unchanged.

“The President has chosen to ignore millions of Americans to put at risk two places he has never seen,” said John Sterling, Executive Director of The Conservation Alliance. “We are proud to protect our investment in these landscapes by supporting Earthjustice’s efforts to challenge this assault on our public lands.”

In addition to defending Bears Ears and Grand Staircase-Escalante, Earthjustice is prepared to go to court to defend national monuments in New Mexico and California. The law firm is already engaged in litigation to protect Cascade-Siskiyou National Monument in Oregon.

“In this reckless assault on our shared natural heritage, the President is proposing to remove protections for wildly popular National Monuments that drive local economies and hold great concentrations of Native American antiquities, stunning recreation opportunities, and areas with unique scientific value,” said Sterling. “Bears Ears and Grand Staircase-Escalante are exactly the kind of landscapes the Antiquities Act was intended to preserve.”

This grant comes from The Conservation Alliance’s new Public Lands Defense Fund, a special fund designed to make emergency grants to organizations working to defend the integrity of our public lands system. The Conservation Alliance established the Public Lands Defense Fund in January, 2017 with contributions from Patagonia, The North Face, Arc’teryx, GU Energy Labs, KEEN Footwear, Ruff Wear and Ibex Outdoor Clothing. Together, these companies have contributed more than $270,000 this year to support efforts to defend public lands. The Conservation Alliance welcomes additional contribution to grow this fund.

The Conservation Alliance Responds to President Trump’s Unprecedented Attack on National Monuments

Citadel_Ruin_BLM_photo_by_Bob_Wick

Today, President Trump launched an unprecedented attack on America’s public lands. In a move that favors short-term profits for extractive industries over Native American cultural heritage and a sustainable outdoor recreation economy, Trump signed an executive order that attempts to shrink the boundaries of Bears Ears and Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monuments. His order reduces Bears Ears by 85 percent, and cuts Grand Staircase-Escalante in half. Like many of President Trump’s executive orders, this one is likely illegal, and will immediately be challenged in court by Native Americans, conservation organizations, and outdoor recreation interests. The Conservation Alliance opposes any attempt to reduce the boundaries of existing national monuments by executive action, and is prepared to fund legal challenges to this assault on or national and natural heritage.

When President Trump ordered a review of national monuments earlier this year, we supported efforts to show how strongly local citizens and businesses support both Bears Ears and Grand Staircase-Escalante. During the national monument review, three million Americans submitted comments, more than 99 percent of which urged President Trump and Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke to leave all monuments under review unchanged.

At the behest of Utah’s political leadership, the President has chosen to ignore millions of Americans to put at risk two places he has never seen. It is no coincidence that Trump ordered the dismantling of two of Utah’s most iconic national monuments just days after Utah Senator Orrin Hatch, Chair of the Senate Finance Committee, ushered the tax cut bill through the Senate. In this reckless assault on our shared natural heritage, the President is proposing to remove protections for wildly popular national monuments that drive local economies and hold great concentrations of Native American antiquities, stunning recreation opportunities, and areas with unique scientific value. Bears Ears and Grand Staircase-Escalante are exactly the kind of landscapes the Antiquities Act was intended to preserve.

President Trump’s action is part of a broader attack on our public lands by Congress and the White House; an attack that we expect to play out over the next year. The Conservation Alliance will work closely with our member companies and our partners in the conservation community to respond to this and any subsequent attempt to undermine our special wild places. We will use our Public Lands Defense Fund to fund grassroots conservation groups in their efforts to defend our public lands. And we will continue to organize our member companies and their employees and customers to speak out forcefully in support of our public lands.

Since President Trump and Secretary Zinke launched their national monument review, our member companies and their employees have joined an unprecedented movement in support of public lands. That movement is only growing, and we will continue to stand strong as we defend our national monuments now, and make plans to secure new protections for public lands in the future.

If you want to join the effort to support our national monuments, here are three actions you can take today:

  1. Join the effort to establish a Bears Ears Visitors and Education Center in Bluff, Utah. Friends of Cedar Mesa, a longtime Conservation Alliance grantee and local Bears Ears conservation nonprofit, has launched a Kickstarter campaign to build a center to educate and inspire the ever increasing visitation to the Bears Ears region.
  2. Continue to stand up for our national monuments. Visit http://monumentsforall.org/action/ for suggested social media messages.
  3. Remain engaged, motivated, and passionate. We will continue to share updates and opportunities for engagement through our channels. Please sign up for our e-newsletter to be informed of these opportunities.

Trump to Shrink Utah Monuments on Monday

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Photo: Josh Ewing

President Trump will fly to Salt Lake City Utah on Monday, December 4th to shrink Bears Ears and Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monuments.

Documents leaked from the White House and obtained by a variety of sources such as The Washington Post, Outside Online, and the Salt Lake Tribune, suggest that President Trump will issue an order, which, if eventually upheld in court, would dramatically reduce Bears Ears and Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monuments in Utah.  If these obtained documents are true, Trump will dismantle Bears Ears National Monument into two smaller monuments encompassing just 201,000 of the monument’s original 1.35 million acres. Grand  Staircase-Escalante National Monument will also be broken into three smaller monuments with a combined acreage of less than one million acres, roughly half of its original size.

The Conservation Alliance and our member companies have worked vigorously to demonstrate support for National Monuments, and to oppose any changes to their boundaries. Nearly three million Americans commented during the review period, 99 percent of whom urged Trump to leave these special protected areas alone.

Native Americans, conservation and recreation groups, and outdoor businesses are preparing to file lawsuits against the Trump Administration immediately following an announcement on Monday, and The Conservation Alliance will make grants from our Public Lands Defense Fund to support this litigation. In the meantime, there are still ways to make our voices heard. Below are two ways to take action immediately.

  1. Attend Saturday’s Rally in Salt Lake City. Join Utahans on the south steps of the Utah State Capitol to resist Trump’s efforts to dismantle our national monuments. RSVP here.
  2. Make your voice heard on social media. Visit monumentsforall.org/action to quickly do so.

Please stay tuned. We will compile a concise list of ways to take action promptly following any Trump announcement on Monday. 

 

Arc’teryx to Donate 100 Percent of Proceeds on Giving Tuesday to the Public Lands Defense Fund

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Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, Photo by Florian Schulz

Recognizing the urgent need to defend public lands in the US, Arc’teryx will donate all proceeds from US e-commerce sales on Giving Tuesday to The Conservation Alliance’s Public Lands Defense Fund.

The Vancouver, BC-based manufacturer of outdoor performance apparel and equipment is a long-time member of The Conservation Alliance, and is committed to preserving open lands and waterways, providing important habitat for wildlife and recreational opportunities.

The Conservation Alliance established the Public Lands Defense Fund (PLDF) in January, 2017 to safeguard the integrity of our public lands in the face of dramatic proposals at the federal and state levels that would undermine those lands. On the Tuesday following Thanksgiving, all proceeds from net U.S. online sales at arcteryx.com will be donated to this cause to protect at-risk wild spaces and conservation laws.

“We support conservation projects not only in Canada, but around the world. The need to protect the public lands system in the U.S. is at a critical point in time. As industry leaders, it is our responsibility to step up for our community and the environment in which we exist,” Arc’teryx GM/President, Jon Hoerauf said. “We want our customers to channel their purchase into protecting public lands, and we want them to know that Arc’teryx stands with them in our commitment to defending wild spaces and making efforts to preserve the systems that keep them wild.”

Through the PLDF, The Conservation Alliance will contribute more than $250,000 in 2017 to organizations working to: 1) defend existing national monuments; 2) preserve our core environmental laws; and 3) prevent the transfer of public lands to the states or to private ownership.

“Public lands in the US have never been more threatened than they are right now.” The Conservation Alliance Executive Director, John Sterling said. “Arc’teryx is making a bold move, giving their customers the opportunity to support public lands protection during the holiday season, and putting their values above profit”

New Public Land Protections Proposed for California’s Central Coast

2015.04.28 Ojai (6 of 10) Jack Schlinkert

By Dup Crosson and Matt Sayles, California Wilderness Coalition

CalWild and their partners in the Central Coast Wild Heritage Coalition celebrated the introduction of a bill that would protect thousands of acres of sensitive habitat in the Los Padres National Forest and Carrizo Plain National Monument.

The Central Coast Heritage Protection Act (CCHPA) was introduced by Representative Salud Carbajal (D-CA) and Senator Kamala Harris (D-CA). It is the culmination of over seven years of outreach and discussion involving local businesses, mountain bikers, elected officials, ranchers, conservationists, and other stakeholders that are all involved in the future protection and management of these iconic lands.  The CCHPA has been supported by the Conservation Alliance and its member companies for many years, and this partnership has been instrumental in getting the bill introduced again in 2017.

The Central Coast Heritage Protection Act would safeguard 245,000 acres of wilderness, create two scenic areas encompassing 34,882 acres, and designate 159 miles of wild and scenic rivers in the Los Padres National Forest and the Carrizo Plain National Monument. These protections would help ensure clean water for local communities, stimulate a vibrant local economy, provide outdoor recreation opportunities for present and future generations, mitigate the effects of climate change by conserving resources and wildlife habitat. Descriptions of the areas and rivers proposed for protection are at https://www.calwild.org/portfolio/centralcoast/.

Rep. Salud Carbajal and Cal Wild’s Matt Sayles, October 2017

“We are thrilled that Rep. Carbajal has continued his longstanding history as an environmental leader on the Central Coast,” said Matt Sayles, Central Coast Conservation Director for CalWild. “He has been supportive of our work and efforts going back many years prior to being elected to Congress.We are equally excited to see Senator Harris engage in this effort—this being her first wilderness legislation since her election as Senator last year. In a political climate that has seen several attempts at undermining our rich national legacy of public land protection, it is inspiring to see our leaders in California advocating for more protection—not less.”

California’s Central Coast is known for its iconic oak woodlands, chaparral-draped coastal mountains, and the awe-inspiring Channel Islands. The region includes the Los Padres National Forest, California’s second largest national forest. The forest extends nearly 220 miles across the scenic Coast and Transverse Mountain Ranges, rising from the Pacific Ocean to over 8,800 feet in elevation.

West Paso Robles rancher and business owner Greg McMillan said, “My family has lived in this area for six generations and it is my heart. I own and operate a small-scale, grass-fed beef operation on family land and have planted an olive orchard. We are blessed to live in an area that contains some of the most rural and wild lands in the West, but the pressures on this land are great. The Central Coast Heritage Protection Act will ensure that our wildest lands and rivers remain intact.”

The forest provides habitat for 468 species of wildlife including the California condor and the southern steelhead. The region also includes the Carrizo Plain National Monument, the last intact native grassland where pronghorn antelope and tule elk wander free. These wild lands are rich in Native American history, and are popular places for recreation. They are also vital sources of drinking water for local communities and for the agricultural and wine industries.

“Representative Carbajal and Senator Kamala Harris’ introduction of the CCHPA shows a new generation is picking up the torch to protect California’s wild heritage. Regardless of the obstacles, we will work to make it a reality,” Ryan Henson, Senior Policy Director, CalWild.

For more information, visit: https://www.calwild.org/portfolio/centralcoast/

Save the Date! The Conservation Alliance Breakfast with Kevin Fedarko & Pete McBride

The Grand Canyon by Pete McBride

The Conservation Alliance Breakfast
Friday, January 26, 2018
7:00-9:00 AM
The Hyatt, Centennial Ballroom, Denver CO

BETWEEN RIVER AND RIM: Hiking the Grand Canyon

A Presentation by writer Kevin Fedarko and photographer/filmmaker Pete McBride

In an effort to share the Grand Canyon’s uncharted glory and shed light on the myriad threats it faces, writer Kevin Fedarko and photographer/filmmaker Pete McBride set off on an audacious and demanding adventure this year: to transect the length of the canyon on foot. This trek is not the pair’s first adventure together, but it may be the toughest.

An award-winning photographer, writer, and filmmaker, Pete has traveled to over 70 countries for a number of publications and companies, including National Geographic Society, Outside magazine, Patagonia, and The Nature Conservancy. A passionate conservationist, Pete has been named a “Freshwater Hero” by National Geographic. Kevin left his post as a top editor at Outside magazine for the dusty abyss of the Grand Canyon. Kevin is the author of The Emerald Mile and his work has been featured in National Geographic Adventure, Esquire, and Time, among other publications. The Conservation Alliance Breakfast is open to the public, so bring a friend.

Arrive Tired, Leave Inspired. 

Kevin Fedarko and Pete McBride

Outdoor Brands Commit to Raising Money for The Conservation Alliance Grant Fund on Giving Tuesday

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Photo:  Uncage the Soul Productions

With help from brands in the Outdoor Industry, The Conservation Alliance will launch a fundraising campaign on Giving Tuesday to help protect and defend wild lands and waters across North America. The Conservation Alliance plans to use the funds raised on Giving Tuesday to permanently protect threatened wild places in 2018.

For the first time, The Conservation Alliance has created a consumer-facing campaign for Giving Tuesday, called “You Give. We Protect.” On November 28, Conservation Alliance member companies will share the campaign through their social media channels and invite their customers to join the outdoor industry’s collective effort to add new protected areas to the map by making a donation to The Conservation Alliance.  One hundred percent of the funds raised through this campaign will go directly into The Conservation Alliance grant fund.

In 2017, The Conservation Alliance awarded $1.75-million in grants to 50 conservation organizations working to protect and defend wild places. The group hopes to increase that amount in 2018.

These companies will ask consumers to join the collective effort to protect wild places.

In addition to sharing the “You Give, We Protect” campaign, the following Conservation Alliance member companies will raise funds for The Conservation Alliance through creative cause marketing campaigns on Giving Tuesday:

  • Arc’teryx will support The Conservation Alliance through its ecommerce channel and dealer network on Giving Tuesday. Arc’teryx will use Promoboxx to encourage dealers and retail stores to help raise money for The Conservation Alliance and the protection of wild places.
  • Moosejaw will donate 10-percent of sales generated from its “Almost Gift Card” promotion running on Giving Tuesday to The Conservation Alliance. Customers must use the promotion code (FREEMONEY) for the donation to be applied. For more information, visit Moosejaw.com.
  • GRAYL will donate 25-percent of Giving Tuesday revenue to The Conservation Alliance. GRAYL purifiers make safe, clean water from virtually any freshwater source. Visit thegrayl.com for more details.
  • Wilderness Press will promote the Conservation Alliance campaign on their blogs and social media, and offer a coupon code for an additional 5-percent off products to anyone who donates to the Conservation Alliance on Giving Tuesday.
  • BoCo Gear will direct a percentage of proceeds on Giving Tuesday to The Conservation Alliance. For more information, visit bocogear.com.
  • Uncage the Soul Productions will host an online auction to raise funds for The Conservation Alliance. The item up for auction is an extra large print (60″ x 44″) of Oregon’s beloved Crater Lake. The auction will go live on Tuesday, November 28, at 8:00 a.m. PT on the Uncage the Soul Facebook page. The auction will be open for 12 hours only and will close at 8 PM PT with 100-percent of the winning auction bid going directly to The Conservation Alliance.
  • Stio will donate a portion of online sales on Giving Tuesday to The Conservation Alliance. Visit Stio.com for details.
  • Promoboxx, a partner of The Conservation Alliance, is a brand-to-retailer marketing platform that enables members to promote and share the Giving Tuesday campaign content with their local retailer networks. In addition to supporting The Conservation Alliance by increasing Giving Tuesday awareness and donations among local consumers, Promoboxx is also making a campaign donation.

“The Conservation Alliance fights every day to protect America’s wild places, which are under threat as never before. Our customers use and love America’s public lands, so GRAYL is joining the fight!” said Travis Merrigan, co-founder of GRAYL. “On Giving Tuesday, we’re proud to donate 25-percent of sales of our water purifiers to The Conservation Alliance, so our public lands stay public for generations to come,” said Merrigan.

“Asking our member companies to raise money for The Conservation Alliance on Giving Tuesday is unprecedented, but so are the attacks on our public lands,” said Josie Norris, communications and grant program manager at The Conservation Alliance. “Behind every Conservation Alliance member company there is a group of passionate employees who value the protection of wild places, and they are eager to help us increase our investment, and impact, in 2018.”

Grantees Deliver Three Conservation Victories

Photo:  Aaron Theisen

In October 2016, The Conservation Alliance invested $820,000 in grassroots conservation organizations. Each grant went to a project working to secure permanent protection for a specific threatened wild place. We direct organizations to use our funding over the course of a 12-month period. At the end of the grant period, we ask each group for a 12-month final report. These reports play a key role in helping us determine the return on our investment.

Conservation Alliance grantees funded in the last 12 months reported three conservation victories, permanently protecting 7,296 acres and one climbing area.

Following is a summary of the progress our grantees have made with our funding.  At the end of this summary are several exciting updates on work we funded in April 2017. We will share final reports on all of our April 2017 grants in April 2018.

Download a PDF of the grantee report summaries here.

 

Trump Says He’ll Shrink Utah National Monuments in December


Photo: Tim Peterson

According to the Salt Lake Tribune, President Trump told Utah Senator Orrin Hatch that he will change the boundaries of Bears Ears and Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monuments in December. The President plans to travel to Utah to make a formal announcement about — and presumably to sign an executive order that would instigate — the boundary changes. Any attempt to shrink the monuments will immediately be challenged in court.

In August, after an unprecedented review of national monuments, Interior Secretary submitted a report to Trump recommending unspecified boundary changes to six National Monuments and management changes to another four. The President has yet to take action on Zinke’s recommendations, but his call to Senator Hatch indicates that he is ready to take that next step.

This slow train wreck started in April, when Trump issued the order launching the monument review, and it looks like the cars will collide in December. The Conservation Alliance and our member companies have worked vigorously to demonstrate support for National Monuments, and to oppose any changes to their boundaries. Nearly three million Americans commented during the review period, 99 percent of which urged Trump to leave these special protected areas alone.

Native Americans, conservation and recreation groups, and outdoor businesses are prepared to sue Trump if he attempts to shrink the monuments, and The Conservation Alliance will make grants from our Public Lands Defense Fund to support this litigation. Ultimately, the courts will decide if the President has the authority to change monument boundaries, and 121 law professors clearly believe he does not.

But, Trump seems intent on ignoring overwhelming public sentiment and legal opinion to serve Utah’s political leadership, and specifically Senator Hatch, chair of the powerful Senate Finance Committee. Trump’s top priority is to sign legislation that would issue $1.5 trillion in tax cuts, mostly to wealthy Americans and corporations. That legislation will need to pass through Senator Hatch’s committee. A cynic might conclude that Trump’s monument efforts are merely transactional; aimed at ensuring Senator Hatch is on his side with tax reform.

We will continue to keep you all posted as this issue evolves. Know that we stand by our National Monuments, and will do all we can to ensure our members’ voices are heard.

The Arctic Refuge Battle Continues in the Budget

Photo Credit: Florian Schulz

The battle to protect the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge from oil drilling continues.

Two weeks ago, the Senate took the first step toward opening the Arctic Refuge to oil drilling by voting against an amendment to remove Arctic drilling from its budget resolution, then narrowly passing that resolution. Less than a week later, on Thursday, Oct 26th, the House adopted the Senate’s budget resolution in a 216-212 vote.

The good news? We have successfully fought this battle before. In 2005, the Arctic Refuge faced a similar threat. Republicans controlled both the House and Senate, and the White House, and all wanted to open the Arctic Refuge to oil development.  Republican leadership used the same convoluted budget process they are using today to advance Arctic drilling.  The Senate and the House voted then to drill the Arctic Refuge using the same sequence of votes in 2005 as they did earlier this month, but Arctic Refuge supporters remained steadfast. At the 11th hour, the cultural significance and unmatched beauty of the Arctic Refuge ultimately prevailed, and Arctic drilling was struck from the 2005 budget.

Endless Pressure, Endlessly applied.

Conservation Alliance members have added pressure. We are proud to report that 90 members joined us in a letter to Congress, and more than 20 companies joined us on October 12 for an Arctic Refuge social media day of action. This level of action makes a difference, and we have to keep it up. The budget process is a marathon not a sprint, and we have many miles left in the race.

Each step in the budget process demands our community’s attention. Now that Congress has passed a budget resolution, the next stage in the process is called reconciliation. Reconciliation is the part in the process where we will see actual legislation that would open the Arctic Refuge to drilling. This Thursday, November 2nd, the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee is holding a hearing to discuss potential oil drilling in the Arctic Refuge (as instructed by the resolution).

It is important that our elected officials understand where we stand on this issue. Below are some suggested actions.

Call or Tweet Key Senators:

  • Call or tweet Alaska Senator Lisa Murkowski (202-224-6665 / @lisamurkowski) and Alaska Senator Dan Sullivan (202-224-3004 / @SenDanSullivan) and tell them that you do not agree with drilling in the Refuge and that the fast-tracked budget process is an unethical method to use on such an important topic.
  • Call Maine Senator Susan Collins (202-224-2523 / @SenatorCollins) and thank her for voting in support of the Arctic Refuge in the Budget Resolution process.
  • Call Arizona Senator John McCain (202-224-2235 / @SenJohnMcCain) and ask him to help the public understand his reasons for voting down the amendment that would have kept the Arctic Refuge out of the budget process.

Tweet at your Representative:

Message: [Your Representative] tell GOP leadership to keep #ArcticRefuge drilling out of the tax bill. #NoArcticRider #ProtectTheArctic

We are not giving up until the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge is protected once and for all. Thanks for sticking with us for the long haul.

 

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