WASHINGTON, D.C. – Ranking Member of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee Maria Cantwell (D-Wash.) today defended the Antiquities Act and the protected status of National Monuments across the country.
Senator Cantwell took to the Senate floor to oppose the President’s short-sighted attempt to illegally roll back the National Monument status for some our country's most treasured public lands and national monuments, protected to preserve them for public recreation and enjoyment.
“The shortsighted move is a pretext to attack the designation of the Bears Ears National Monument in Utah,” Senator Cantwell said. “Sacred to five tribes, Bears Ears is a breath-taking sight for all Americans who come to experience what is the unbelievable unique beauty of the West.”
In Utah alone, outdoor recreation is responsible for $12 billion in consumer spending each year: more than twice the value of oil and gas produced in the state ($5 billion).
Just today, the Outdoor Industry Association released a new report on the economic contributions of the recreation economy. Nationally, the recreation industry currently creates $887 billion in consumer spending every year. That’s up more than $200 billion (from $646 billion) the last time this study was conducted, a few years ago.
In addition, outdoor recreation industry is responsible for 7.6 million jobs in this country today. That’s growth of 1.5 million jobs since the last time this study was conducted.
Sen. Cantwell explained that President Trump’s Executive Order calls into question more than just Bears Ears National Monument. “Reviewing any designation in the last 20 years, threatening the question of the San Juan Island or the Hanford Reach National Monument and the creation of other sites around the United States and threatening our economies. Time and time again, the Trump administration is pushing for policies that are harmful to our recreation economy, a disaster for our pristine places, and setting a terrible precedent for future conservation efforts.”
In Washington, the outdoor recreation economy generated $22.5 billion in consumer spending and $1.6 billion in state and local tax revenue.
Watch the video of Sen. Cantwell’s floor statement here.