Newscasts

PNS Daily Newscast - August 21, 2018 


Trump tells Reuters he fears a perjury trap. Also on the Tuesday rundown: Iowa activists to protest in support of a nationwide prison strike; and a solar project throws shade on the Keystone XL pipeline.

Daily Newscasts

Colorado Businesses Urge Leaders to Protect National Monuments

Rural counties across the west that contain protected public lands have seen the number of jobs increase by 345 percent over counties without protected lands. (BLM)
Rural counties across the west that contain protected public lands have seen the number of jobs increase by 345 percent over counties without protected lands. (BLM)
December 5, 2017

DENVER – Conservation groups sent a letter signed by more than 150 small businesses to Colorado's congressional delegation and governor asking leaders to stand up for national monuments. The move came moments after President Donald Trump signed an executive order dramatically reducing the size of Utah's Bears Ears and Grand Staircase-Escalante national monuments.

Teresa Martinez, executive director of the Continental Divide Trail Coalition, says 99 percent of nearly three million public comments submitted were in favor of leaving monuments intact.

"And I think that's really important, that the public has spoken out on behalf of these national monuments," she says. "It's almost as if those voices are being ignored."

The law firm Earthjustice, representing eight organizations, has filed a lawsuit charging that Trump violated the 1906 Antiquities Act in stripping protections. Proponents of the move claim former presidents overreached their authority by limiting oil, gas and coal development on large parcels of public land, which they argue costs jobs.

According to research by Headwaters Economics, rural western counties with protected public lands have seen jobs increase by 345 percent over areas without protected lands. Martinez says outdoor recreation and tourism are significant economic drivers in Colorado.

She adds that federal protections make sure future generations will benefit from the region's cultural, scientific and natural resources in ways that extractive industries do not.

"This really isn't a matter of conservation versus economic development," she explains. "The outdoor-recreation industry in Colorado alone generates $28 billion in consumer spending and $9.7 billion in wages and salaries each year."

Martinez says 95 percent of the small businesses her group surveyed this year say protecting public lands is critical for keeping local economies strong. Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper said in a statement that he hopes the nation's leaders can find a way to let monuments remain and return their focus to more pressing issues.

Eric Galatas, Public News Service - CO