More mon­u­ments may be re­duced

In­te­rior sec­re­tary rec­om­mends Trump trim land and sea bound­aries

USA TODAY US Edition - - NEWS - Gre­gory Korte

WASH­ING­TON – In­te­rior Sec­re­tary Ryan Zinke rec­om­mended that Pres­i­dent Trump scale back four more na­tional mon­u­ments — two on land and two in the Pa­cific — and make mod­i­fi­ca­tions to at least four more to ease re­stric­tions on public lands.

The ad­di­tional rec­om­men­da­tions come the day after Trump signed procla­ma­tions rolling back two na­tional mon­u­ments in south­ern Utah: Bears Ears and Grand Stair­case-Es­calante.

Zinke rec­om­mended that Trump re­duce Cas­cade-Siskiyou in Ore­gon and Cal­i­for­nia and Gold Butte in Ne­vada.

“The In­te­rior’s po­si­tion is that public lands are for public use, not spe­cial in­ter­ests,” Zinke said Tues­day.

The review of more than two dozen na­tional mon­u­ments came after Trump signed an ex­ec­u­tive or­der in April look­ing back at major mon­u­ments cre­ated or ex­panded over the past two decades.

Zinke didn’t spec­ify how much he wanted to re­duce Cas­cade-Siskiyou and Gold Butte. Cas­cade-Siskiyou sur­rounds a num­ber of pri­vately owned lands, and Zinke wants to open ar­eas for tim­ber har­vest­ing. At Gold Butte, wa­ter rights for the city of Mesquite, Nev., are at is­sue.

Zinke rec­om­mended bound­ary changes to two ma­rine na­tional mon­u­ments: the Pa­cific Re­mote Is­lands and the Rose Atoll, which to­gether pro­tect more than 322 mil­lion acres. Those moves could lead to more com­mer­cial fish­ing.

On many other mon­u­ments, Zinke didn’t rec­om­mend bound­ary changes. He did ask for a num­ber of mod­i­fi­ca­tions, in­clud­ing on:

Katahdin Woods and Wa­ters, an 87,500-acre mon­u­ment in Maine cre­ated by Pres­i­dent Obama last year. Zinke wants to re­open the area to tim­ber har­vest­ing.

North­east Canyons and Seamounts, a 3.1 mil­lion-acre mon­u­ment off the coast of Cape Cod, Mass., cre­ated by Obama last year. Zinke rec­om­mended that the mon­u­ment be re­opened to “well-reg­u­lated com­mer­cial fish­ing.”

Or­gan Moun­tains-Desert Peaks, a 496,529-acre mon­u­ment in New Mexico cre­ated by Obama in 2014. Zinke noted that the area is close to the Mex­i­can bor­der and said it’s been used as a drug smug­gling route. Zinke said the ad­min­is­tra­tion should con­sult with the De­part­ment of Home­land Se­cu­rity and the De­part­ment of De­fense about pos­si­ble changes.

Rio Grande Del Norte, a quar­ter­mil­lion-acre mon­u­ment in New Mexico cre­ated by Obama in 2013. Zinke said the ad­min­is­tra­tion should in­vest in in­fras­truc­ture to al­low more graz­ing in the area.

Mon­day’s ac­tions have been the tar­get of at least two fed­eral law­suits. Ten en­vi­ron­men­tal groups chal­lenged Trump’s shrink­ing of Grand Stair­caseEs­calante, and five Amer­i­can In­dian tribes filed suit seek­ing to block the Bears Ears procla­ma­tion.

The out­door cloth­ing com­pany Pata- go­nia threat­ened to sue. The com­pany protested Trump’s ac­tions Mon­day by briefly re­plac­ing its on­line home­page with the mes­sage “The pres­i­dent stole your land.”

“Not one square inch was stolen,” Zinke said Tues­day, not­ing that the procla­ma­tion did not trans­fer any fed­er­ally owned land. “I think it’s shame­ful and ap­palling to bla­tantly lie in or­der to get money in their cof­fers.”

Patag­o­nia, he said, was a “spe­cial in­ter­est” that makes its cloth­ing in China.

Zinke did open the door to cre­at­ing na­tional mon­u­ments. One pos­si­bil­ity he cited was Camp Nel­son, an 1863 Union Army sup­ply de­pot in Ken­tucky. The 4,000-acre site served as the third-largest re­cruit­ment and train­ing cen­ter for African-Amer­i­can reg­i­ments dur­ing the Civil War.

“The In­te­rior’s po­si­tion is that public lands are for public use, not spe­cial in­ter­ests.” Ryan Zinke In­te­rior Sec­re­tary

Pres­i­dent Trump or­dered that the Bears Ears Na­tional Mon­u­ment in south­ern Utah be scaled back. Five Na­tive Amer­i­can tribes filed suit seek­ing to block the pres­i­dent’s procla­ma­tion. JIM LO SCALZO/EPA-EFE

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