MA Environmental Advocates Urge Congressional Delegation to Protect National Monuments

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The state’s leading environmental advocates today urged the Massachusetts congressional delegation to oppose the Trump Administration’s unprecedented effort to reduce protections for more than two dozen national monuments.

The advocates, including the Environmental League of Massachusetts (ELM), the Massachusetts Sierra Club, Mass Audubon, and the Appalachian Mountain Club among others, urged the state’s 11-member delegation to contact Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke and strongly oppose the administration’s attempts to roll back these hard-fought protections, including those for the recently designated Northeast Canyons and Seamounts Marine Monument off the coast of Cape Cod.

“Our national monuments are treasures which deserve protection for future generations,” said Nancy Goodman, ELM's Vice President for Policy. “They are the best and rarest of places, drawing thousands of visitors who contribute to local economies. We call on citizens that care about the environment to make their voices heard and urge Secretary Zinke to listen.” 

The letter contributes to ongoing local and national campaigns to protect the national monuments –driven by grassroots and digital activism. ELM volunteers have been gathering support and comments around the state at public events and directing voters to the comment page via the hashtag #MonumentsForAll. The period for public comment closes on July 10th.

“Massachusetts is blessed with incredible beauty – from the mountains of the Berkshires to the beaches of Cape Cod, and our residents value these natural wonders, including the underwater gem that is the Northeast Canyons and Seamounts Marine National Monument,” said Massachusetts Sierra Club Chapter Director, Emily Norton. 

“At a time when our oceans are under severe threat from warming and acidification, it is imperative that we protect these marine wonders for our own, and future, generations.”

The process for designating a national monument makes use of the best available science to document the resources in need of protection, incorporates a strategy to manage various aspects of the land while protecting natural resources, and includes a robust public process.

The letter urges our congressional delegation to ensure a transparent review process before any designation is rescinded by asking the Department of the Interior (DOI) to make all public comments available for review and create a publicly available report summarizing the comments and addressing action to be taken in response.

“A host of powerful constituencies are gathering steam to try to roll back these vital environmental protections. It’s essential that our delegation know we strongly oppose these attacks and join with us in opposing this President’s disgraceful attempts to harm our planet,” said Goodman.