Looks like at least four national monuments will be targeted for reductions . . .
Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke’s recommendation to shrink four sprawling national monuments in the U.S. West jeopardizes protections for ancient cliff dwellings, scenic canyons and habitat for endangered fish and threatened Mojave desert tortoises.
The recommendations, revealed in a leaked memo submitted to the White House, would scale back two huge Utah monuments – Bears Ears and Grand Staircase-Escalante – along with Nevada’s Gold Butte and Oregon’s Cascade-Siskiyou.
The monuments encompass an area larger than Connecticut and were created by Democratic presidents under a century-old law. Three were created or expanded in President Barack Obama’s final weeks in office.
There may be a few (cough) adjustments, though . . .
Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke announced Thursday he won’t seek to rescind any national monuments carved from the wilderness and oceans by past presidents. But he said he will press for some boundary changes and left open the possibility of allowing drilling, mining or other industries on the sites.
Twenty-seven monuments were put under review in April by President Donald Trump, who has charged that the millions of acres designated for protection by President Barack Obama were part of a “massive federal land grab.”
If Trump adopts Zinke’s recommendations, it could ease some of the worst fears of his opponents, who warn that vast public lands and marine areas could be stripped of federal protection.
Last Tuesday, a number of North Fork Preservation Association members participated in a rally to support national monuments at the Western Governors’ Association meeting in Whitefish. NFPA President Debo Powers addressed the crowd.
Our national monuments are under attack! Please speak out in support of them by writing a letter to Secretary of Interior Ryan Zinke. In Montana, the Upper Missouri River Breaks is one of the monuments under review. (See the recent NFPA letter to Ryan Zinke for ideas and for Secretary Zinke’s mailing address.)
Also, there will be a Rally for National Monuments in Whitefish where Secretary Zinke will be addressing the Western Governor’s Conference on Tuesday, June 27 at noon in Depot Park. This rally is being organized by a group of conservation organizations in our area. We need as many people to attend as possible so please pass the word …and bring friends and family members.
NPR has an impressive photo spread of the national monuments under review by the Trump administration . . .
President Trump has ordered the Department of the Interior to review all designations of national monuments greater than 100,000 acres created since 1996.
That executive order, which he signed Wednesday [April 26], places at least 20 — and as many as 40 — monuments in the government’s sights. The areas now under review span a vast range of landscapes — from arid deserts to frozen mountain peaks, from striking craggy vistas to teeming underwater playgrounds.
And, though these monuments were all established roughly in the past two decades, they all have a history more than a century long. That’s because all of them owe their existence to the 1906 Antiquities Act, a law signed by President Theodore Roosevelt that makes it a federal crime to destroy or alter ancient artifacts and ruins on federal land.