The most common claim made by proponents to Zinke’s suggested recommendations is that it would open up the economy for areas of growth, especially in the commercial fishing industry. Rescinding the commercial fishing ban would allow fisherman access to areas they had previously been prohibited from fishing in. Another key claim made by proponents is that the government has been overreaching their boundaries and needs to allow the local communities to utilize and organize the public lands because they know the areas best. These claims appeal to both the ethics of consequences, because if it is it true it would provide economic benefits which would improve human well-being, and the ethics of principles because it involves human rights and access to those areas.
The source of the first claim listed above regarding the commercial fishing industry comes from an article in National Fisherman written by Steve Bittenbender. He “works as a freelance journalist based in Louisville, Kentucky” and “as a contributing editor” for several different reputable services including the Government Security News, indicating that he is a reliable author (National Fisherman). His writing is clear, and backed by facts. It is possible that when we writes for National Fisherman he writes with a bit of bias because his largest intended audience is in fact fisherman. The source of the second claim regarding local community’s leadership over the public lands comes from Americans for Prosperity’s Vice President of External Affairs, Christine Harbin in a press release. After reviewing their website, it is clear that Harbin is also a reliable individual. The information presented is clear and concise, and additional sources for background are also provided.
The claims made by proponents of Zinke’s recommendations appear to be backed by the additional research I have gathered from several different sources. The research presented by The Social Science Journal reinforces the claims made by National Fisherman by stating the economic gains that have been witnessed as land designations change. The journal, Issues in Science and Technology, presents information that backs the claims made by Americans for Prosperity by indicating that keeping data over public lands has been inconsistent and inaccurate. If it were the responsibility of the local communities to keep records, then laws could be more regularly enforced and monitored. All of this signifies that these claims are true and should be taken seriously.
One of the most common claims made by opponents to Zinke’s recommendations is in regards to limiting access to these National Monuments under review. Their main concern is what will happen to their rights concerning access to these public lands, specifically in relation to recreational purposes. The Access Fund makes claims that indicate climbing areas are being over regulated which appeals to the ethics of principles. This is morally important because climber’s rights to these lands is being threatened. Another important claim made by opponents is that if Zinke’s recommendations were put into place, the outdoor recreation economy would be significantly weakened. This claim appeals to the ethics of consequences and is morally significant because if the claims are true, then there are potentially negative effects that could occur, such as a weakened economy.
The first claim made about climber’s access to recreational areas of National Monuments comes from the Access Fund. The Access Fund is an activist group aimed at protecting outdoor climbing areas, so there is some slight bias when they write in relation to this policy. The article the claim was pulled from lists links to other references to back their information. Their material is well-defined, and I would consider them a reliable source. The second claim comes from a letter from the Founder and President of Patagonia. The authors are both well-educated and successful individuals that can be trusted. Patagonia also lists additional links to reinforce their information. I would consider Patagonia to be a reputable source for this topic of discussion.
The claim regarding climber access to these National Monuments is somewhat contradicted by the information presented by The Social Science Journal. An article in the journal stated that a public land’s title reflects and is correlated with its number of visitors, hence why National Parks receive more visitors and public involvement than National Monuments. While this may be true, it does not make sense for the Access Fund’s argument. Zinke is not planning on changing the designation of any of the public lands, just shrinking boundaries, so this claim is somewhat irrelevant to the topic. The second claim from Patagonia regarding the outdoor recreational economy is reinforced by the research presented in the Journal of Park and Recreation Administration. The journal indicated that the majority of individuals are willing to comply with fees and taxes to support recreational areas on public lands. If individuals continue to pay to fund these activities, then it makes sense that the economy surrounding those activities would also be affected.
Both the proponents and opponents of Zinke’s proposed recommendations to National Monuments have valid arguments that are believable. Based solely on the use of research and information, I would conclude that the proponents have a slightly more believable stance, backed with more credible facts. It is difficult for the opponents to the policy to present claims in relation to access to these areas, and that is the theme amongst many of their arguments. The proponents of the policy have evidence of past experience that they can rely on to prove their points, and trends in recent data to evaluate.