More monuments may be reduced
Interior secretary recommends Trump trim land and sea boundaries
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