Zinke recommends shrinking several monuments

In a memo leaked to the Associated Press, Zinke laid out suggestions to shrink western monuments.
By Kassondra Cloos ,

Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke recommended President Donald Trump decrease the size of at least four national monuments, according to a leaked memo obtained by the Associated Press.

Aside from Bears Ears, which Zinke recommended shrinking earlier this summer, he also proposed revising the boundaries of Utah's Grand Staircase Escalante, Oregon's Cascade-Siskiyou, Nevada's Gold Butte, and two marine monuments, Rose Atoll and Pacific Remote Islands. Zinke made other suggestions to revise monument proclamations in his 19-page report to Trump, but did not propose revising any other boundaries.

"Teddy Roosevelt would roll over in his grave if he saw Secretary Zinke's attacks on our #PublicLands," Washington Senator Maria Cantwell, a Democrat, tweeted Monday morning. Cantwell received the Outdoor Industry Association's Friend of the Industry award earlier this year.

Specific size reductions were not included in the memo, but Zinke did outline ways in which he suggests revising the management of several monuments. For example, he recommended allowing commercial fishing in Rose Atoll, and timber harvesting in Katahdin Woods and Waters. He also recommended working with Congress to secure funding for the Department of the Interior to work on necessary maintenance and infrastructure projects in specific monuments.

The National Parks Conservation Association says Trump does not have the legal authority to carry out Zinke's recommendations, and that it's prepared to sue if he tries to do so. The leaked memo represents the NPCA's "worst fears," President and CEO Theresa Pierno said in a statement.

"Gutting protections and changing boundaries for national monuments would be a sad chapter in our country’s history," Pierno said. "Places like Bears Ears would be vulnerable to mining, oil and gas and other destructive development... If this administration goes through with these plans and allows mining, oil and gas development and timber harvesting, they will be sacrificing our culture, our history and our outdoor heritage for potential short-term gains. Generations to come will judge them for this shortsightedness."

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