Zinke Won't Eliminate Monuments, But Wants to Shrink Some

WASHINGTON - Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke said Thursday he will not call for the removal of any national monuments but will recommend downsizing an unnamed "handful" of monuments in a report to the White House. The review now goes to the president, who has 120 days to decide whether or not to implement the recommendations. "Once we have a final report, in the coming weeks, we will make it public".

"They protect critical wildlife habitat, boost local economies, provide recreation opportunities and improve the health and well-being of the American people". The other two are reportedly in Utah. The department said it met with local, state, tribal and other interested parties, and reviewed more than 2.4 million public comments submitted online. While Congress can alter national monuments easily through legislation, presidents have reduced their boundaries only on rare occasions.

Through the years, United States presidents of both parties have used the Antiquities Act of 1906 to set aside swaths of public land to protect important historical, cultural, and ecological sites without approval from Congress.

"The recommendation to alter certain national monuments, including reducing Bears Ears in Utah, is the direct result of Secretary Zinke favoring the voices of oil and gas executives instead of the people who submitted almost 3 million public comments opposing changes to these important places", Greenpeace USA climate campaigner Mary Sweeters said.

Trump ordered Zinke to review 27 monuments in April, declaring that President Barack Obama's use of the Antiquities Act of 1906 to establish new monuments amounted to an "egregious abuse of federal power".

Cook wants to lop off a finger of the 346,177-acre monument located mostly in the Angeles National Forest in Los Angeles County. Conservationists say this is exactly what they feared: They don't know what those changes mean or which monuments will be targeted, because Zinke has been vague on what's in his report to Trump. In it, he tells the AP that none of those 27 national monuments should be eliminated.

"I've heard this narrative that somehow the land is going to be sold or transferred", Zinke told The Associated Press.

Block said the claim "that these lands are being opened up for oil and gas is patently false".

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The Antiquities Act is the first law to establish that archeological sites on public lands are important public resources.

In July 2016, Rep. Rob Bishop, R-Utah, and former Rep. Jason Chaffetz, R-Utah, introduced the Utah Public Lands Initiative, which included a proposal for fossil fuel development in what is now Bears Ears.

National outdoor retailer REI and other companies have also opposed changes to monuments.

While Zinke did not release any details of his plan Thursday, he did say in June that he thought Bears Ears needed "right-sizing". "However, having conducted the review".

The Times report the 1.35 million-acre monument has been a flashpoint since its designation.

But the report advises Trump to reduce the size of at least three national monuments: Oregon's Cascade-Siskiyou National Monument and Utah's Bears Ears and Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monuments, the Washington Post reported Thursday. If a region gained this honor, it would be protected from any private development.

No doubt, any decisions shifting policies or changing boundaries for monuments will trigger lawsuits.

Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke wants to retain a newly created national monument in northern ME but he may recommend some changes. Nearly unanimously, commenters want the President to keep his hands off the monuments, according to a survey of 1.3 million of those comments that was released Tuesday by Key-Log Economics, a Virginia-based consultancy that applies ecological economics research to land and natural-resource issues.


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