Trump's interior secretary wants to shrink national monuments

Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke called for shrinking the boundaries of 10 national monuments and lifting current restrictions on logging and mining in and around these protected lands, according to a memo obtained by the Washington Post. They are, per The Post, Utah's Bears Ears and Grand Staircase-Escalante, Nevada's Gold Butte, Oregon's Cascade-Siskiyou and the Pacific Remote Islands and Rose Atoll.

No other president has gone this far in limiting monument protections, according to an official at the National Parks Conservation Association.

Established Jan. 6, 2009: This George W. Bush-designated marine national monument, encompassing almost 13,400 square miles in the South Pacific Ocean, includes Rose Atoll, a small Samoan island and the southernmost point of the U.S. The monument also includes Rose Atoll National Wildlife Refuge, established in 1973, with about 20 acres of land and 1,600 acres of lagoon.

Trump ordered the review earlier this year after complaining about improper "land grabs" by former presidents, including Barack Obama. The Bears Ears designation angered Republican politicians in Utah, who want the land available for possible gas, oil and mining use - and who directed Trump's attention to the issue of national monuments.

Cascade Siskiyou National Monument, Oregon 4. Ultimately, Doña Ana County Commissioners approved a resolution opposing the Trump Administration's efforts to downsize the monument.

"We worked with these communities for well over a decade and settled on some great compromises that allowed for traditional use", St. Clair said.

Clair, whose family donated the more than 87,000 acres for the monument, says the recommendations did not come as a surprise. She said the expansion helps protect biodiversity, especially as the climate changes.

If Trump accepts Zinke's recommendations and moves through an executive action to roll back designations, the Natural Resources Defense Council is prepared to go to court, said Rhea Suh, president of the group.

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California environmentalists and numerous state's political leaders were alarmed when Berryess Snow Mountain along with five other national monuments located in California were first published as part of the list that Zinke was reviewing.

The 1906 Antiquities Act permits presidents to declare national monuments without public input but limits the designation to "the smallest area compatible with proper care and management" of treasured objects, and now protects nearly 200 sites, Zinke noted.

Zinke said the recommended changes will enhance economic activity on the land.

In August, the department released a summary of the report, but the summary did not detail what changes, if any, Zinke recommended for the national monuments that were under review. "We made them a success", Rep. Nathan Small (D-Las Cruces), said during the demonstration.

Katahdin can be seen from an outlook on the Katahdin Loop Road in the Katahdin Woods and Waters National Monument. He also said that only federal land can be included, not state or private property.

Carrizo Plain National Monument, a 246,000-acre area owned by the U.S. Bureau of Land Management east of San Luis Obispo that is famous for carpets of wildflowers and that contains the largest native grassland remaining in California. The review recommends revising six national monument boundaries but does not say by how much or by what precise criteria.

Zinke also told the president that he recommends creating three new national monuments, including Camp Nelson in Kentucky where African-American soldiers received training during the Civil War; the home of slain Civil Rights leader Medgar Evers in Jackson, Miss.; and the Badger-Two Medicine area in the Lewis and Clark National Forest in his home state of Montana.

(Copyright © 2015. All Rights Reserved.)
 
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