Working to undo the largely anti-environment and anti-conservation record of his twice impeached predecessor, President Joe Biden signed Executive Orders today (October 8, 2021,) restoring and expanding National Monument protection status to Bears Ears National Park in Utah, the Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument in Utah, the Tongass National Forest in Alaska, and the Northeast Canyons and Seamounts Marine National Monument in New England.

At the Executive Order signing ceremony, President Biden, reiterating the urgency of acting on combatting climate change, relayed:


“…The protection of public lands must become — must not become, I should say, a pendulum that swings back and forth depending on who’s in public office…The truth is, national monuments and parks are part of the identity as — our identity as a people.  They are more than natural wonders; they’re the birthright we pass from generation to generation — a birthright of every American. And preserving them is the fulfillment of a promise to our children and all those who will come to leave this world a little better than we found it. But today, our children are three times more likely to see climate disasters uproot and unsettle their lives than their grandparents’ generation. We have to come together and understand why this work is so critical. When we protect and care for a forest, we’re not just preserving the majesty of nature.  We’re safeguarding water sources and lessening the impact of fires — excuse me —  (coughs) — the impact of fires. We’re protecting wetlands.  We’re not only saving birds and fish and the livelihoods of people who depend on them, we’re also shoring up the natural defenses to absorb the fury of hurricanes and superstorms. Nearly one in three Americans live in a community that has been struck by weather disasters just in the last few months — hurricanes, wildfires, droughts, heatwaves. Both the Build Back Better plan and my Bipartisan Infrastructure Agreement are going to make critical investments, significantly increasing the resilience to these devastating effects on the climate — on the climate crisis. It includes the creation of a Civilian Climate Corps, similar to President Franklin Roosevelt’s Civilian Conservation Corps, which is going to put diverse groups of Americans to work, doing everything from restoring wetlands, to protecting clean water, to making forests more resilient against wildfires. My plan also puts Americans on a course to achieve a 50 to 52 percent reduction in greenhouse gas emissions by 2030 and to reach net-zero emissions no later than 2050. You know, achieving these ambitious goals is going to require that nature itself play a role. Scientists estimate that the protection and restoration of national lands and waters can provide nearly 40 percent of the solutions to climate change.  That’s why I’m signing these proclamations today as an additional reason…

Please click here to read the full text of President Biden’s remarks and click on the video link below to watch it.

Arizona Reaction to the Biden Executive Orders

Citing the importance of the national monuments to the environment and Native American Communities, both Arizona House Representatives Ruben Gallego, Raul Grijalva, and Thomas O’Halleran offered their perspective on President Biden’s Executive Orders.

District Seven Representative Ruben Gallego, who was cited by President Biden in his opening remarks and attended the ceremony issued a statement that read:

“The restoration of the Bears Ears National Monument is proof of the Biden Administration’s commitment to listen to and engage with Tribal communities. Bears Ears is sacred and restoring conservation protections is a necessary action to right the wrongs of the previous administration’s callousness and disregard of Indigenous peoples. As a leader in the House of Representatives who first called for the restoration of Bears Ears in 2017, I look forward to joining the Biden White House for the signing of the executive order and applaud the Administration for not only following the advice of Members of Congress, but for listening to and respecting the voices of the Navajo Nation, Hopi, Zuni, Ute, and Ute Mountain Ute.”

District Four Representative Raul Grijalva, who also attended the Executive Order signing ceremony, wrote:

“President Biden’s decision to restore full federal protection to Bears Ears, Grand Staircase Escalante and Northeast Canyons and Seamounts National Monuments shows this administration’s commitment to conserving our public lands and respecting the voices of Indigenous Peoples. It’s time to put Trump’s cynical actions in the rear-view mirror, restore rightful protections, and restart the Bears Ears co-management arrangement with the tribes who have held this place sacred since time immemorial.”

District One Representative Thomas O’Halleran also released a statement, commenting:

“Today, President Biden took decisive action to protect precious public lands, within which lie clues to millions of years of earth’s history and places sacred to many tribal communities. I was humbled to be invited to the White House for this important signing ceremony but will be in Arizona for meetings with constituents; I offer my sincerest gratitude to the president and to Secretary Haaland on this important action for Native American communities.”

Remember everyone, there is no Planet B.