Today we come together as a country to welcome the 46th President of the United States of America. Inauguration Day is always a monumental occasion, but this one stands out for us. In the hours before the historic event, the Biden Administration issued a press release naming Grand Staircase-Escalante—along with other vital national monuments—for immediate review.
In the press release, he included a planned directive to the Department of the Interior to protect our nation’s treasures by reviewing the boundaries and conditions of the Grand Staircase-Escalante, Bears Ears, Northeast Canyons, and Seamonts Marine National Monuments and placing a temporary moratorium on all oil and natural gas leasing activities in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. We are now awaiting the specific executive order, along with developing information in the coming days.
Today holds so much promise for the protection of national monuments. This promise comes in the form of science and a respect for the vital importance of nature. The Biden Administration has already elevated the importance of science by appointing Dr. Eric Lander as presidential science adviser within his cabinet. This appointment is the first time in US history that a cabinet-level position will be dedicated to science. Biden also created a new post on the White House National Security Council devoted to climate change. We are encouraged by these actions and the stated commitment to review national monument boundaries.
We know this is only the beginning. As Biden stated in his inauguration speech, “there is much to do: much to repair, much to restore, much to heal, much to build, and much to gain.” There is, frankly, much to do about nature. And we are up to the challenge.