LEAKED: Zinke wants to strip TEN national monuments of protections

Tricia Pearson
September 20, 2017

"[Sunday night], we learned Secretary Zinke recommended that President Trump reduce six national monuments, including two marine monuments, and modify numerous others to allow for drilling, mining, and logging in these protected areas", said Central Coast Congressman Salud Carbajal in a statement.

Sen. Martin Heinrich, D-N.M., said in a Journal interview Monday that while he was glad Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke didn't suggest that President Donald Trump shrink New Mexico's monuments, he was disappointed in the secretary's push to change their management plans.

The 19-page report, obtained by The Washington Post and The Wall Street Journal, was delivered to the White House on August 24 as directed by President Trump's executive order for a review of the national monuments created since 1996 that were larger than 100,000 acres.

The Washington Post reports the secretary is recommending reductions or changes to the Pacific Remote Islands and Rose Atoll Marine National Monuments.

"The previous administration used a 100-year-old law known as the Antiquities Act to unilaterally put millions of acres of land and water under strict federal control", Trump said of Obama's use of power to federally protect more open land. Historically, presidents generally use the act to protect areas of historical and natural significance.

Oregon's sprawling national monument covers 112,000 acres along the California border.

Utah politicians, who have lobbied Trump since he was elected to revisit several Antiquities Act designations, praised his administration's push to scale back these areas. That's several more than previously reported.

The secretary's set of recommendations also would change the way all 10 targeted monuments are managed.

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"Because we do not know what the secretary means by 'active forest management, ' we have no way to know how damaging this recommendation might be". "We are grateful that the voices of fishermen and shore side businesses have finally been heard".

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.

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. "We're making sure the proclamation doesn't impede using the land in a way that's reasonable and with common sense", Zinke said in a press conference after the tour and meeting.

Lead Image: This 296,940-acre landscape of dramatic red sandstone formations fills the gap between the Lake Mead National Recreation Area and the Virgin Mountains, and creates a continuous wildlife corridor for large animals, including bighorn sheep and mountain lions.

Zinke recommended TEN land and sea monuments be stripped of critical protections. He also noted that while the permitted amount of grazing is the same as it was in 1996, the number of cattle in the monument has decreased because of restrictions on moving water lines, vegetation management and maintenance of fences and roads.

"It seems that the entire review has been conducted in a very arbitrary and ambiguous process which these two monuments were specifically the target of", said Croft, executive director of Grand Staircase Escalante Partners, a monument support organization.

"Without more details, we can not yet judge whether these recommendations are acceptable and consistent with the overwhelming view of ME people, problematic for the intended goal of this monument, or illegal and likely to trigger action in the courts", Pohlmann said. The area also includes land sacred to Native American tribes.

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