After public outcry, the Interior Department won't eliminate any national monuments

26 August, 2017, 01:09 | Author: Ora Austin
  • McSally asking for preservation of national monuments in Arizona

An unnamed White House Official (possibly granted anonymity in order to speak truthfully) told CNN "President Trump has received Secretary Zinke's draft report for the Antiquities Act, and is now reviewing his recommendations to determine the best path forward for the American people".

In a press release Thursday, Zinke said his review "provides a much needed change for the local communities who border and rely on these lands for hunting and fishing, economic development, traditional uses, and recreation".

Zinke said that under his recommendations, public access for hunting, fishing and grazing would be maintained or restored, and none of the sites would revert to new ownership, AP reports.

The Interior Secretary was reviewing 27 monuments via an executive order from President Trump, who charged that the millions of acres put under protection by President Obama were part of a "massive land grab", according to The Hill.

Environmental groups criticized the Trump administration for refusing to release details of the proposed boundary changes, but neither Bishop nor the White House is saying when that might happen. "We'll fight to protect those lands and all they mean from the hazards of oil and gas drilling", Suh said.

"While Utah's national monuments are a prime example of Antiquities Act Abuse, President Trump and Secretary Zinke are working to correct those past abuses and focus on the original meaning and intent of the law", Hatch said.

"There's an expectation we need to look out 100 years from now to keep the public land experience alive in this country", the secretary told the Associated Press.

If you have any questions about monument review, please ask me. If President Donald Trump decides to act on Zinke's recommendations, that will nearly surely lead to litigation.

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According to the report, Cascade-Siskiyou National Monument is one of at least three on a list Zinke believes should be altered.

Shrinking the protected area or plainly abolishing its status of national monument is likely to be met vocal opposition from environmental groups, outdoor outfitters and Native American tribes, who argue federal protection is not only better for the environment, but better for the economy in a rural, economically depressed area of the Beehive State. "The Antiquities Act itself is silent on that point, but practice suggests that this is not something that presidents have assumed they have the authority to do in the past". Of the remaining 21 national monuments up for review, 16 are in the onshore, and all but one - Maine's Katahdin Woods and Waters - are in the West. "This narrative is false and has no basis in fact".

Both Republican and Democratic presidents have used the Antiquities Act of 1906 to protect national lands with natural, historical or cultural significance.

Along with size adjustments, changes in activities that are allowed on these protected lands could be possible, Zinke said. He previously recommended the newly created Bears Ears National Monument in southeastern Utah be shrunk.

"The land was public before and it will be public after", he said. That monument has also been a controversial flashpoint between logging interests, locals and environmentalists.

But Land Tawney, president and CEO of Backcountry Hunters and Anglers, described any kind of reduction of national monument as an attack on all.

"Bears Ears is an American wonderland of sandstone canyons, desert mesas, and forested highlands sacred to Native American peoples and important to us all".

Many times, presidents reduced monuments only slightly, as when Franklin Roosevelt removed about 52 acres from Arizona's Wupatki National Monument in 1941 to make way for a dam.

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