Biden restores protection of 3 national monuments

At the White House on Friday, Biden delivered remarks before signing proclamations restoring environmental protections for three national monuments.

Video Transcript

Today I'm proud to announce the protection and expansion of three of the most treasured national monuments-- our most treasured. Based on powers granted to the president under the Antiquities Act, first used more than a century ago by Teddy Roosevelt.

First, Bears Ears National Monument in Utah. This is the first national monument in the country to be established at the request of federally recognized tribes, and a place of healing, as was spoken by the Secretary, a place of reverence. A sacred homeland to hundreds of generations of native peoples. The last administration reduced the size by 85%, leaving vulnerable more than one million acres of cherished landscape. Today I'm-- I'll shortly be signing a proclamation to fully restore the boundaries of Bears Ears.

And second, I'm restoring Utah's Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument. A place of unique and extraordinary geology as well as biodiversity, established as a National Monument 25 years ago this month. Over the last quarter century, this land has produced significant scientific discoveries per acre-- more than any other National Monument-- everything from fossils to ancient indigenous artifacts. And once again, the last administration cut the size of the monument nearly in half, stripping away more than 800,000 protected acres. Today, I'm signing a proclamation to restore it to its full glory.

Third, off the coast of New England, I'm restoring protection of the Northeast Canyons And Seamounts Marine National Monument. Waters teeming with life, with underwater canyons as deep as parts of the Grand Canyon. And underwater mountains as tall as the Appalachians. There's nothing like it in the world. Because it's unique biodiversity, marine scientists-- scientists believe that this is a key to understanding life under the sea. President Obama established it as a National Monument five years ago, recognizing it's an irreplaceable value. Again, my predecessor chipped away at its protections. The proclamation I'll be signing today is going to restore protections established by President Obama when this monument was first created.

[COUGH]

Excuse me. 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. It's not a partisan issue.

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