Phil Fred, Antonio Gonzalez, Bears Ears National Monument discussed on Native America Calling


This is national native news. I'm Antonio Gonzalez. The fight continues to protect bears ears national monument in Utah says a native advocate in 2016, president Barack Obama designated more than 1 million acres of bears ears as a national monument. President Donald Trump in 2017 then slashed protections and opened up lands to development. In 2021, president Joe Biden returned protections to bear's ears. The state of Utah and two counties filed a lawsuit in August, challenging Biden's protections, arguing its federal overreach and are asking for a congressional solution for conservation and management. Navajo advocate Davis Phil Fred has been fighting for the protection of bears ears since Obama was in office and through each new presidential administration. Bill Fred says, well, he can not comment on the litigation. He says a coalition of indigenous people and tribes remain committed to protecting bears ears. It's our culture. It's our language and it needs to be protected. Phil Fred says the area has cultural sites and holds traditional and religious importance to tribes. He says the area is being threatened by ranchers, hunters, recreation users, and looters. We have a lot of people that lead the place. Hunting for pottery. We have grave diggers, you know, these are big issues that are not out there, but it's out there, and it's happening. You know, these places, there's a lot of places where ATVs are forbidden. People go in these areas. There's a lot of issues. Phil Fred says he knows the public will continue to access the area. If you're going to come into these area, take nothing but pictures and if you're going to leave anything behind, no trash on the thing you're going to leave is your footprints. Phil Fred discussed the fight for bear's ears at an event at the university of New Mexico and Albuquerque on Wednesday. A popular fishing site on the Columbia river for the yakama nation has been listed as a superfund site by the federal government, as Eric ticket off reports, the hard part comes next. Laura krasner Shira is an environmental engineer with the yakama nation fisheries program. She says the area near Bradford island is a toxic soup for resident fish, with chemicals like PCBs among the most hazardous. The take home when you start to look at all the individual effects of each of these chemicals or chemical groups is that it really affects multiple systems. It affects multiple organs. It can cause cancer. The U.S. Army Corps of engineers dumped electronics near the island for decades, leading to the current toxic situation. People are advised not to eat non migratory fish up to a mile from the dam. Took the lead and calling for Bradford island to be placed on the national priority list with the states of Oregon and Washington backing up those calls. We thought that it could lead to a more protected cleanup. But we also realized that with NPL listing, it's going to require a lot of work still. Chira says, despite their leadership, the yakama nation has been cut out of recent discussions on cleanup. The U.S. Army Corps of engineers says the process has to go through regulators first, including the states, EPA, and Army Corps, but is inviting the public to be involved after that. She says this is discouraging because it's an ancestral site for tribal members, fishing has gone on since time immemorial, fishing continues there, making clean up oppressing issue. I'm Eric, take it off.

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