Interior Secretary Zinke Recommends Removing Protections From 10 National Monuments


Four national monuments not in New Mexico, including Bears Ears and Grand Staircase Escalante in Utah, along with Nevada's Gold Butte and Oregon's Cascade-Siskiyou, would be reduced in size under Zinke's recommendations. But Zinke did recommend changes to ten of the 27 national monuments on the review list, including Bears Ears in Utah, Cascade-Siskiyou in OR and Gold Butte in Nevada.

Pohlmann's warning is in response to a leaked report from Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke to President Donald Trump advising that the executive order that created Katahdin Woods and Waters National Monument be amended to promote a "healthy forest through active timber management".

Zinke, who fashions himself as the modern-day protector of Roosevelt's conservation legacy, said at the outset of his monument inspection tour that the Utah monuments, as well as other monuments created by Trump's three immediate predecessors, were examples of presidential overreach.

Others welcomed the review by the Interior Department, saying the Obama administration's move to set aside large swaths of land was part of a massive federal land grab.

Gold Butte National Monument is roughly 300,000 acres designated to protect natural habitat for Bighorn Sheep, mountain lions and the Mojave Desert tortoise.

Cascade-SiskiyouPilot Rock rises into the clouds in the Cascade-Siskiyou National Monument near Lincoln, Ore.

In June, Rep. Paul Cook, R-Yucca Valley, had asked the Trump administration to shrink the boundaries of the San Gabriel Mountains monument.

In a July visit, Zinke expressed doubts that much scientific study went behind the drawing of its boundaries.

The Cascade-Siskiyou National Monument was designated to protect biodiversity - the first national monument set aside with that sole goal.

"We confirmed that today", Heinrich said. Utah lawmakers also had considered a state plan, which at one point included more than one million acres. "We are grateful that the voices of fishermen and shore side businesses have finally been heard".

Zinke's recommendations were revealed in a leaked memo submitted to the White House. Dozens of the nation's most treasured national parks were first protected as monuments, including Grand Teton, Grand Canyon, Bryce, Zion, Acadia and Olympic national parks. Critics of the report contend the language about "traditional uses" may be an effort to resume logging, oil drilling and other activities now prohibited under national monument protections.

Zinke earlier in the year reviewed 27 National Monuments; he is recommending shrinking six of them.

In the memo, Zinke did not spell out reasons why no changes were listed for those two monuments.

Clinton created the monument in southern Utah in 1996 to preserve scenic cliffs, canyons, waterfalls and arches.

Zinke recommended TEN land and sea monuments be stripped of critical protections. "That is what the science tells us", said Jack Williams, a senior scientist with Trout Unlimited in Medford.

"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.

Established Jan. 6, 2009, and enlarged September 25, 2014: The Pacific Remote Islands Marine National Monument includes Wake, Baker, Howland and Jarvis islands; Johnston and Palmyra atolls; and Kingman Reef, which lie to the south and west of Hawaii.

"This complete lack of transparency is appalling and it demonstrates the arbitrary nature of Zinke's review", said Linda Castro, Assistant Policy Director for the California Wilderness Coalition, in a statement Monday.

Leaders of the five Native American tribes that joined together to push for the creation of Bears Ears were especially harsh in their criticism.