January 24 2018

Leaked Zinke Memo Urges Trump to Shrink National Monuments

January 24 2018, 01:49 | Van Peters

Interior Secretary Endorses Shrinking 6 National Monuments


Established March 25, 2013: The rugged, wide-open plains of the 242,500-acre Rio Grande del Norte National Monument average an elevation of 7,000 feet.

The Trump administration wants to modify protections for 10 US national monuments.

In addition to taking away recreation opportunities for the boaters and hikers who are just starting to discover Maine's newest national monument, turning against the St. Clair family in this way would send a clear message to other families that want to preserve their land for future generations: you can't trust the Interior Department to be a responsible steward of your gift.

No president has tried to eliminate a monument, but some have trimmed and redrawn boundaries 18 times, according to the National Park Service.

It's unclear what action President Trump will take on Zinke's recommendation. The Wall Street Journal first obtained the memo and reported the story. In all, Zinke calls for amending the proclamations for 10 monuments, largely to allow for commercial activities restricted in these areas, such as logging, grazing, mining and fishing.

The Organ Mountains-Desert Peaks has proven somewhat more controversial with local ranchers, covering almost a half-million acres from the jagged peaks that define the Las Cruces skyline and stretching across a swath of the Chihuahuan desert. The Washington Post article announcing the report did not disclose its source, and a White House spokeswoman refused comment, calling it an "internal draft" that was still under review.

"This decision blatantly ignores local businesses, Border Patrol agents and outdoorsmen to protect sites that should not be protected under the Antiquities Act", Pearce said, referring the century-old law that gave former President Obama power to establish the monument without consent of Congress. He says members of his industry will fight the proposed changes to marine national monuments and sanctuaries like Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary. However, President Trump must still act on the recommendations and until he does we will continue working with local BLM officials to ensure that continued access to our water rights is maintained.

The leading proponent of Katahdin Woods and Waters National Monument said Monday that Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke's recommendation for "active timber management" merely raises more questions about the Trump administration's plans for the property.

Bears Ears and Grand Staircase Escalante, are included in Zinke's report as the Monuments that will be affected. Those two large monuments in southern Utah's Red Rock country are so controversial they triggered Trump's call for the review of monuments at least 100,000 acres in size created since 1996. Bush, a Republican, and Democrats Bill Clinton and Barack Obama.

Bear's Ears, a 1.3 million-acre monument in southeastern Utah designated by President Barack Obama a year ago.

Objects that have been protected in recent designations include biodiversity at Cascade-Siskiyou National Monument - the "spectacular variety of rare and lovely species of plants and animals" that live there, according to the proclamation that established the monument in 2000. In the months that followed, there was an outpouring of support for the current size of the monument.

Zinke's report states "certain monuments were designated to prevent economic activity". Moan is the executive director of Friends of Gold Butte, a group of activists supporting the 300-thousand acre area's monument designation.

Environmentalists said fishing within the monuments could harm the ecosystems and limit their ability to replenish tuna and other fish stocks. After Obama created the Atlantic monument, five commercial fishing groups sued in federal court.

"The Hawaii tuna fleet does not need to fish within the Pacific Remote Islands", he says.

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