On Thursday afternoon, Interior Secretary, Ryan Zinke stated that he is asking President Trump to shrink the size of “a handful” of national monuments. These monuments have been previously designated to protect land and water by previous presidents.
Zinke told the Associated Press that he would not be asking Trump to eliminate any of the 27 national monuments.
He did, although, state that any areas removed from national monuments would remain under federal control and public access would either stay the same or improve.
Zinke continued, “There’s an expectation we need to look out 100 years from now to keep the public land experience alive in this country. You can protect the monument by keeping public access to traditional uses.”
Instead of publicly releasing the report, Interior published a two-page summary of the process the Interior secretary took to review the monument designations.
It included the following excerpt:
“Adherence to the [Antiquities] Act’s definition of an ‘object’ and ‘smallest area compatible’ clause on some monuments were either arbitrary, or likely politically motivated or boundaries could not be supported by science or reasons of practical resource management.”
In reference to the recommendations, Zinke said that they “will maintain federal ownership of all federal land and protect the land under federal environmental regulations, and also provide a much needed change for the local communities who border and rely on these lands for hunting and fishing, economic development, traditional uses, and recreation.”
it is unclear whether Trump will follow Zinke’s suggestions, but the White House did report that they were under review.
Jennifer Rokala, executive director of the Center for Western Priorities, said, “Today’s recommendations cement his legacy as the most anti-park Interior Secretary in history. If President Trump takes any action to erase national monument acreage, he will trigger a court battle that will drag on for years.”
These recommendations, although, could help out industries that were shut out of the land and water by monument designations. Those industries include oil, coal, ranching, and fishing.
Environmentalists across the country are saying that the law does not give Trump the authority to shrink monuments, but many Trump supporters say that the power is implied.
What are your thoughts? Is Zinke out of line? Why or why not? Also, do you think Trump will take his suggestions?
Please feel free to leave a comment below!
Credit: The Hill