Zinke makes recommendations to Trump on nat’l monuments, but withholds details

“Hispanic ranchers from New Mexico who met with U.S. Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke while he gathered information about national monuments say they’re encouraged that the changes could help them get more grazing and water rights”. Though Zinke’s report was not made public, The Washington Post is reporting that the Cascade-Siskiyou National Monument is one of three across the country that will see protections slashed! “Trump’s executive order that calls out national monuments established from 1996 (Grand Staircase-Escalante) to 2017 (Bears Ears) exemplifies the political nature of the review”. His report recommends reducing the size of the Grand Staircase-Escalante and Bears Ears in Utah and the Cascade-Siskiyou, a 113,000-acre grasslands and forest in OR and California containing a diverse ecosystem, according to The Washington Post. She spoke to Colorado Matter’s Nathan Heffel about what the recommendations reveal about Trump’s public lands philosophy.

“The whole review by (Interior Department Secretary Ryan) Zinke is an industry-driven, extraction-driven review, whether it’s gas and oil in some areas and mining in others”, said Grijalva, whose district includes most of Ironwood. There is also word that Zinke is suggesting revisions to the management rules of other monuments that could change their boundaries.

Once the administration releases the details, Bishop said, he’ll introduce legislation to revamp the Antiquities Act, the law that created the monuments now under review.

Americans for Prosperity: Americans for Prosperity praises Secretary Zinke for sending “President Trump a series of recommendations created to give additional flexibility to local communities impacted by overly broad management of federal lands under the Antiquities Act”.

He added Zinke’s recommendations lack transparency.

But environmental groups and other defenders of the monuments saw the Trump administration’s gestures at eliminating the monuments as an unwise concession to the oil and gas industry, which covets these lands for drilling and development. “Whatever else, Zinke has indicated he understands President Teddy Roosevelt’s insight in first employing the National Antiquities Act of 1906 in preserving public lands”. “On top of all the attacks on our climate, now we’ll have to defend our parks and monuments from Big Oil as well”.

According to the Interior Department, Zinke’s report followed a 120-day review and included more than 60 meetings with advocates and opponents of monuments designations. In the summary, Zinke acknowledges that the vast majority of the 2.4 million responses received during the comment period “were overwhelmingly in favor of maintaining existing monuments”. Early analyses in May and July by the Center for Western Priorities suggested as much too.

But the fight for the protection of these federal lands is far from over. “.the Obama administration had abused the statute that allows presidents to designate national monuments without congressional action”. And in an interview with the Associated Press published Thursday, Zinke explained that his report will instead recommend certain changes – which could potentially include adjusting the borders to make monuments smaller and easing restrictions on what can be done on the lands – to a “handful” of monuments.

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