Zinke recommends shrinking Gold Butte National Monument


Rep. Dan Newhouse (R-WA) released the following statement after U.S. Secretary of U.S. Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke released the final report outlining recommendations he made to the President on some national monument designations under the Antiquities Act.

The monuments review started April 26 when Trump signed an executive order directing Zinke to study "all presidential designations or expansions of designations under the Antiquities Act" since January 1, 1996, if they involve more than 100,000 acres.

Zinke recommended shrinking four monuments and changing how the USA manages six others.

Monument supporters argue that issues related to public access and concerns about border security in southern New Mexico were addressed in the original proclamations. Together they would cover just over 1 million acres.

Zinke said the Cascade-Siskiyou National Monument straddling the border of OR and California and the Gold Butte National Monument in Nevada were both too big for the objective of protecting important historical sites and should be reduced in size.

In a report issued Tuesday, Zinke recommends downsizing the almost 300,000-acre monument "to ensure that the monument reservation is limited to the smallest area compatible with the protection of the objects identified and protect historic water rights".

Although he didn't say how much the monument would be scaled back, the announcement was cheered by the American Forest Resource Council, one of the organizations suing the federal government.

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The secretary said he was "fairly confident" Trump would accept all of his recommendations, and he intends to brief him "multiple times" in coming weeks to get his sign-off. "We must continue to fight, on the ground and in the courts, to protect Nevada's piece of the Grand Canyon".

Contrary to this stated goal, numerous most vocal local opponents of Zinke's plan for reducing the size of the monument own land within the boundaries.

Zinke on Tuesday blasted critics of the effort, including clothing retailer Patagonia, which recently changed its website home page to read: "The President Stole Your Land".

Grand Staircase-Escalante and Cascade-Siskiyou national monuments were both established by President Bill Clinton.

In his formal recommendation, made public on December 5, Zinke said the monument should be modified to "address impacts on private lands and to address issues concerning the designation and reservation of O&C Lands as part of the monument and the impacts on commercial timber production".

The report's release comes a day after Trump reduced the amount of land protected within two national monuments in Utah: Bears Ears and Grand Staircase Escalante. If you would like to discuss another topic, look for a relevant article.

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