Last week, Resources for the Future researchers Margaret Walls, Patrick Lee, and Matthew Ashenfarb released a groundbreaking study exploring national monuments' positive effects on local economies in the American West.
Listed below are a few quotes from recent features:
The Salt Lake Tribune: “While rural Utah leaders have long derided national monument designations as an unacceptable drag on their area economies, a new study by a nonpartisan think tank indicates that large monuments, including Grand Staircase-Escalante, on balance, have helped drive economic activity in adjacent communities.
And, it warns, reducing them in size, as has happened in Utah, could cost hundreds of jobs. These are the findings of Resources for the Future, a long-established nonpartisan organization, based in Washington, D.C. Its economists analyzed the economic effects of 14 large monuments designated in eight Western states between 1996 and 2014, teasing out causal connections to changes in employment and business development.”
Popular Science: “When President Trump declared plans to downsize Bears Ears and Grand Staircase-Escalante national monuments in 2017, supporters of the decision claimed that the monuments could harm the industries that nearby communities relied on. After Bear Ears’ original designation, residents of adjacent counties had worried about the impact on mining and ranching.
However, a new economic analysis published Wednesday in Science Advances finds that monuments give more to a community than they take away. In fact, there’s no evidence that they’ve really taken away any jobs.”
Pew Charitable Trusts: “Proposals to create new national monuments—ranging from vast natural areas to ancestral sites to historic buildings—often spark controversy, especially when large parcels of land are involved. Opponents argue that such protected areas hurt local economies by limiting access to natural resources; supporters counter that monument designations in fact help those communities by attracting tourism- and recreation-driven spending.
A new study bolsters that second stance, finding that creation of national monuments increases the average number of businesses and jobs locally and boosts business and job creation in neighboring areas.”
Inside Science: “Since the 1906 Antiquities Act was passed, U.S. presidents have had the power to protect vast stretches of land with the stroke of a pen by designating them as national monuments. Many such designations have faced backlash, often over concerns they would harm local economies. New research suggests such fears may be unfounded.”
Inverse: “United States' national parks like Bears Ears and the Grand Staircase-Escalante in Utah are a matter of pride for many, but the contribution of these national monuments to the health — and wealth — of local economies is hotly disputed.
Complaints by those in opposition include that, by taking up space, they curtail and diminish economic growth by hindering industrial development, including mining, energy exploration, and commercial enterprise.
But a new study based on 25 years of data suggests these claims may be unfounded. The study contradicts the current administration's reasoning behind a number of moves to scale back America's national monuments.”
Earther Gizmodo: “Donald Trump stripped Bears Ears National Monument and the Grand Staircase-Escalante in Utah of their federal designations during his first year in office. State legislators applauded this move, fearing that the protections that come with this designation would hurt local economic benefits from mining, logging, and ranching.
A new study, however, paints a different picture. Published in Science Advances on Wednesday, the study finds that national monument designations don’t actually change much in the local economy—except when they grow businesses in communities closest to these federal sites.”
Read the full study here at Science Advances.