In April of this year, Trump issued an executive order instructing the Secretary of the Interior to review 27 national monuments around the country, including the Carrizo Plain National Monument in San Luis Obispo County. This review would determine whether to shrink or rescind each national monument, and it was undoubtedly an attempt to open these lands up to drilling and other detrimental activities.
As part of the review, the public can submit comments on any or all of the national monuments. We organized Save the Carrizo Plain to help garner public support for the national monument right here along the Central Coast. You might have seen us at summer events anywhere from Ventura north to Santa Margarita. We even hosted the Rally for the Carrizo in early July at Mission Plaza in San Luis Obispo. The rally featured speeches from Congressman Salud Carbajal, former Congresswoman Lois Capps, and other local leaders. You can see clips of these speeches here.
In early July, we were thrilled to ship two boxes containing over 2,600 letters from our area to the Department of the Interior. Our good friends at Patagonia – whose store was just a few blocks from the Department of the Interior building – loaded the boxes onto a tandem bicycle and hand-delivered the letters after a trek through the heart of our nation’s capital. You can see footage of their delivery here.
Altogether, Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke received over 2.7 million comments supporting national monuments across the country. He has until August 24th to make his recommendations for each national monument to the president. Some of the monuments under review have been announced to be safe from any changes to their boundaries or protected status, but there is no word on the Carrizo Plain yet.
We plan to keep sending letters to Secretary Zinke until then. We have already received 600 more letters since the comment deadline that we will send to Secretary Zinke before he makes his final decision. We are also working to get local businesses signed on to a letter highlighting the importance of the national monument to the region’s economy. So far we have more than 80 businesses from Ventura to Paso Robles who have lent their support to this treasured place. Businesses can easily sign the letter by visiting savethecarrizo.org/supporters, where you can also see a full list of businesses, organizations, and local leaders who support the Carrizo Plain.
There is a growing list of elected officials and organizations who have publicly supported the Carrizo Plain National Monument. Senators Dianne Feinstein and Kamala Harris and Congressman Salud Carbajal were early supporters of the national monuments in California, writing a strong letters to Secretary Zinke. The California State Assembly also submitted a letter supporting the Carrizo Plain and other national monuments in California, which was signed by local Assemblymembers Monique Limón and Jordan Cunningham. Other supporters include Mayor Heidi Harmon of San Luis Obispo who wrote a letter to Secretary Zinke, penned an op-ed in The Tribune, and spoke at our Rally for the Carrizo as well as Violet Cavanaugh, Vice-Chair of the Northern Chumash Tribal Council who spoke at our San Luis Obispo town hall in June and the Rally for the Carrizo. You can read news stories and op-eds about the Carrizo Plain here.
Even though the official comment period ended on July 10th, that will not stop us from continuing to let Secretary Zinke know how important the Carrizo Plain National Monument is to the region. You can still submit a letter to Secretary Zinke showing your support for the Carrizo Plain, and we encourage everyone to keep writing to the Department of the Interior until a final decision is released on August 24th. Visit savethecarrizo.org/protect to easily submit your letter online today.
We will continue to fight for the protection of the Carrizo Plain National Monument. We are ready to rapidly respond to any attempt by the administration to shrink or rescind the monument. Check back to our website for updates.