Interior Department calls for slight monument downsizing
After a four-month review, Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke on Thursday recommended the president reduce the size of a handful of federal monuments. President Donald Trump ordered Zinke to review 27 national monuments to see whether the United States could benefit from having fewer acres of protected lands, opening opportunities for energy production and recreation. Zinke’s final report did not recommend eliminating any monuments, but he advised the president to downsize a “handful” of sites. The White House has not announced whether it will follow Zinke’s recommendations, which have not yet been made public. The Interior Department posted a two-page summary of the report stating the president does not have the authority to restrict public access to federal lands because of the 1906 Antiquities Act. The Washington Post reported the “handful” of sites Zinke wants to downsize include Bears Ears and Grand Staircase–Escalante national monuments in Utah and Cascade-Siskiyou National Monument in Oregon. In his interim report in June, Zinke recommended shrinking Bears Ears.
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