THE TALON

National Parks Shrink for Corporations

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In the past eight years, 550 million acres of land has been granted national monument or park status by the Obama administration. This designation means that the land is free for the American public to explore while it’s unique natural beauty is preserved. Passed these general benefits, National Parks do not allow for corporate ownership of the land that may abuse dwindling natural resources which would contribute to the overall destruction of the environment. Claiming states rights and job opportunity, Trump has decided to cut large portions of this land and reorganize the management of several parks. Specifically, Bears Ears has been cut by 85% and Grand Staircase-Escalante nearly in half. Like many other national parks, both locations are suspected to have valuable natural resources, such as oil, which makes them alluring for corporations. Proclaiming that the reductions would attract business to Utah and that the federal government’s use of the Antiquities Act intrudes on the states’ rights. From a legal perspective, this assertion defies the practice of sixteen previous presidents who have used the Act to designate iconic monuments and preserve America’s unique beauty and historic value. Economically, the cut to parks will likely result in oil and mining companies moving to Utah, possibly increasing job opportunities. Unfortunately, the environmental impact from the companies could destroy the park itself while increasing  the nation’s already oversized carbon footprint. From a broader perspective, the relevance of unsustainable energy sources and the companies that extract them will deteriorate with the rise of more environmentally conscious technology. This means that the shrinking of National Parks for corporations would only result in short-lived job opportunity and ecological destruction. While both Utah Senators support the President’s decision, environmental groups and Native American Tribes are concerned about the greater implications. Home to several tribes, Bears Ears is valued land by the Native Americans who originally supported its designation as a National Park. Following a pattern government disregard for tribes, the move to cut the parks signifies a lack of progress while ignoring the environmental consequences shows little concern for a growing global issue.

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