Secretary of Interior Ryan Zinke recommends shrinking some national monuments

Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke has concluded his four-month review on the size of 27 national monuments, as requested by President Donald Trump.

Zinke announced parts of his recommendations for the Trump administration in an interview with the Associated Press this morning. In it, he tells the AP that none of those 27 national monuments should be eliminated.

But the AP does note that “unspecified boundary adjustments for some monuments designated over the past four decades will be included in the recommendations he planned to give President Donald Trump on Thursday.”

In suggesting this, Zinke also told the AP that none of the sites would revert to new ownership and would remain open for outdoor activities. Zinke did not mention whether or not areas of the monuments would be opened up to oil and gas drilling, mining, logging and other industries, which President Trump has advocated for. This is something environmental groups and conservationists have feared could happen if the boundaries on national monuments are altered.

While the particulars and the actual recommendations for each national monument Zinke is sending along to the White House have not been released, Zinke has stated in the AP story that he thinks at least a “handful” of national monuments should shrink. "There's an expectation we need to look out 100 years from now to keep the public land experience alive in this country," Zinke told the AP. "You can protect the monument by keeping public access to traditional uses."

One of the national monuments at the center of this review is Bears Ears in Utah. Designated by former President Obama at the end of his second term, Secretary Zinke had already made his determination clear on Bears Ears earlier this summer when he stated it should be scaled back.

Whether or not President Trump will adopt these recommendations, or if/when the public will know the specifics of them, is yet to be seen.

The Metate Arch within Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument, one of the 27 national monuments in question. Photo: Courtesy of John Fowler/Wikicommons

h/t Associated Press

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