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MT Businesses to Zinke: National Monuments Good for Bottom Line

The Trump administration reviewed Montana's Upper Missouri River Breaks National Monument this summer. (Bob Wick/Bureau of Land Management)
The Trump administration reviewed Montana's Upper Missouri River Breaks National Monument this summer. (Bob Wick/Bureau of Land Management)
December 6, 2017

HELENA, Mont. – Montana business owners have a message for the Trump administration: National monuments are good for businesses of all types.

The administration announced it would reduce two Utah monuments by 2 million acres, as well as monuments in Oregon and Nevada.

In response, Business for Montana's Outdoors is rolling out a series of videos this week from restaurants, retailers, outfitters and more showing that changing monuments hurts small businesses and jobs.

Marne Hayes, the group’s executive director, says even though Montana's national monument was spared earlier this year, the Utah decision sets a dangerous precedent.

"Attacking one monument attacks all of them in that there is no assurance that the same decisions could be made about any number of monuments in the future, and it's just a devastating blow to the good work that has historically been done to protect public lands like national monuments," she states.

The Upper Missouri River Breaks National Monument in Montana was one of 27 monuments under review earlier this year.

In his announcement, President Donald Trump called the Bears Ears and Grand Staircase-Escalante monument designations in Utah a "federal land grab."

A group of Native American tribes and conservation groups has filed lawsuits against the Trump administration over that decision.

Hayes says communities at the gateway to these lands stand to lose a great deal from their reduction.

"When you remove those, it's a very unsure future for these small businesses,” she points out. “So the important piece is to make sure that we assign all kinds of business faces and business stories to what's happening when you degrade national monuments."

Clothing retailers Patagonia and REI also have expressed concern about the Trump administration's decision.

In response on Monday, Patagonia's homepage read "The President Stole Your Land."


Eric Tegethoff, Public News Service - MT