Interior Secretary Recommends Shrinking Bears Ears

Interior Secretary Recommends Shrinking Bears Ears

Interior Secretary Recommends Shrinking Bears Ears

Following up on an executive order, Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke has recommended President Donald Trump review the boundaries of the Bears Ears National Monument in Utah, which was created by former President Barack Obama.

In April, President Donald Trump signed an executive order directing Zinke to review national monuments of more than 100,000 acres designated since 1996, saying some of them amounted to a "massive federal land grab".

Despite the almost unanimous sentiment among the general public who commented, Zinke chose to ignore the findings entirely in his official report to the president and instead pointed to the handful of comments received from industry-friendly Utah politicians who oppose Bears Ears to justify his bold recommendations. Zinke's recommendations, announced Monday, add fuel to the controversy over the Utah monument, which President Obama designated during his final days in office.

The Navajo Nation and Hopi and Ute tribes pushed for the Bears Ears declaration, and said it would help protect cultural and sacred sites.

Rather than designating a vast monument, as Obama did, "it would have been more appropriate to identify and separate the areas that have significant objects to be protected to meet the purposes of the Act", Zinke's report said. He also suggests working with Congress to enable Native American tribes to co-manage cultural areas. This week Zinke travels to ME to review their new National Monument, let's hope his next trip isn't to Southern Oregon.

"Secretary Zinke's recommendation that the President shrink the boundaries of Bears Ears National Monument ignores the law and public outcry, including over one million comments in support of monument status", Patagonia CEO Rose Marcario said in response to the Zinke's decision. The preliminary report is the first step of a larger review of more than two dozen national monuments that protect US public lands, mostly in the West.

Grijalva said Zinke's memo makes no mention of public comments on the property and does not "reference any maps or specify legislative language".

The review also targets five marine monuments in the Atlantic and Pacific oceans.

"Attempting to remove protections for public lands by diminishing a national monument would be unprecedented in the modern era and may jeopardize other monuments", said Corey Fisher, senior public policy director for Trout Unlimited's Sportsmen's Conservation Project.

But supporters say the act is necessary to protect threatened lands - and that "right-sizing" a designated monument has happened only on handful of times since the act was created in 1906. Not only is this entire national monument review process unnecessary and a waste of taxpayer dollars, President Trump does not have the legal authority to act on these recommendations. No president has ever attempted to revoke a national monument. "The man charged with protecting public lands just told the public their voices don't count". "The monument will be managed in cooperation with the tribes".

Part One of our conversation about Secretary Zinke's Bears Ears recommendation.

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