Interior chief urges shrinking 4 national monuments in West

Interior chief urges shrinking 4 national monuments in West

Interior chief urges shrinking 4 national monuments in West

"What is the goal of a marine monument if it is open to industrial fishing, drilling, and mining?" asks PEER Executive Director Jeff Ruch, pointing out that the memo was submitted a month ago but the White House refuses to comment because it is both "leaked" and still "under review".

The recommendations cap an unprecedented four-month review based on Trump's claim that the century-old Antiquities Act had been misused by past presidents to create oversized monuments that hinder energy development, grazing and other uses.

The memo also suggested scaling back the Bears Ears and Grand Staircase-Escalante in Utah, Gold Butte in Nevada, and the Pacific Remote Islands and Rose Atoll. It urged rule changes to four others, including allowing commercial logging in Katahdin Woods and Waters National Monument in ME; commercial fishing in Northeast Canyons and Seamounts off New England; and changes to two New Mexico national monuments, Organ Mountains Desert Peaks and Rio Grande Del Norte which could allow more cattle grazing, logging or mining.

Zinke did not offer changes to two local monuments: The San Gabriel Mountains National Monument, a 346,177-acre swath of the Angeles National Forest from Santa Clarita to Mt. Baldy, and the Mojave Trails National Monument, a 1.6 million-acre desert landscape that bridges the area between Joshua Tree National Park and Mojave National Preserve.

Trump could accept Zinke's recommendations, reject them or modify them.

"The fate of this OR treasure should not be another state secret on top of everything else this administration has tried to keep in the dark".

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A White House spokeswoman declined comment.

But environmental groups plan court challenges to any efforts to shrink or deregulate current monuments.

"These factual errors make it look disinformed", Willis said in a phone interview.

A law signed in 1906 by President Theodore Roosevelt, called the Antiquities Act, gives presidents the authority to establish national monuments without a vote of Congress, something that almost every president has done since then. And opponents worry Trump may go even further and completely remove some designations.

Tribal leaders said President Obama's monument designation was already 30 percent smaller than what they wanted to protect.

The head of the U.S. Department of the Interior called for changes to the management of 10 national monuments that would lift restrictions on activities such as logging and mining and shrink at least four of the sites, the Washington Post reported.

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But conservationists, Native Hawaiians and others who fought to have the monument established in 2009 and then expanded a year ago are not resting easy.

Zinke's report states "certain monuments were designated to prevent economic activity".

Conservationist groups slammed the recommendation, while fishing groups said they've been making the same proposal all along.

U.S. Sen. Tom Udall, D-New Mexico, said Monday he was concerned about the lack of specifics in the memo, saying "New Mexicans are still in the dark about the future of our treasured monuments".

Lynne, we have the American people on our side - remember, more than 2.8 million people submitted comments during Zinke's "review" of these monuments - but to fight the Trump administration on so many fronts, we need your help now. "Trump and Zinke are shirking our country's responsibility to protect marine life". The monument contains Native American artifacts and historical sites from early pioneers and Spanish explorers.

Zinke toured Gold Butte and Basin and Range monuments on July 30 and met with VVWD General Manager Kevin Brown who told him moving the northern Gold Butte boundary southward about five miles would remove the water resources from within the designation.

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