Secretary Zinke Sends Monument Report to the White House
News Release from US DoI, August 24, 2017
WASHINGTON – Today, U.S. Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke sent a draft report to the president which included his findings and recommendations on national monuments that were under review as a result of the April 26, 2017 executive order. The report summary can be read here. The extensive 120-day review included more than 60 meetings with hundreds of advocates and opponents of monument designations, tours of monuments conducted over air, foot, car, and horseback (including a virtual tour of a marine monument), and a thorough review of more than 2.4 million public comments submitted to the Department on regulations.gov. Additionally, countless more meetings and conversations between senior Interior officials and local, state, Tribal, and non-government stakeholders including multiple Tribal listening sessions.
The review was initiated by President Trump in order to restore trust in the multiple-use mission of the Department and to give rural communities a voice in federal land management decisions. In order to make the process transparent and give local residents and stakeholders a voice, the Secretary announced on May 5, 2017 the opening up of a formal comment period for the review, as the President directed. This was the first time ever that a formal comment period was open on regulations.gov for national monuments designated under the Antiquities Act.
“No President should use the authority under the Antiquities Act to restrict public access, prevent hunting and fishing, burden private land, or eliminate traditional land uses, unless such action is needed to protect the object,” said Secretary Zinke.“The recommendations I sent to the president on national monuments will maintain federal ownership of all federal land and protect the land under federal environmental regulations, and also provide a much needed change for the local communities who border and rely on these lands for hunting and fishing, economic development, traditional uses, and recreation.”
While traveling across the country, Secretary Zinke met with hundreds of local stakeholders and heard concerns about some national monuments negatively impacting things like local revenue from federal lands, agriculture, private property rights, public access to land, traditional Tribal uses of the land, and timber harvesting.
Over the 120-day review, Secretary Zinke visited eight national monument sites in six states:
- Bears Ears (UT)
- Grand Staircase Escalante (UT)
- Katahdin Woods and Waters (ME)
- Northeast Canyons and Seamounts
- Cascade Siskiyou (OR & CA)
- Organ Mountains-Desert Peaks (NM)
- Basin and Range (NV)
- Gold Butte (NV)
The following national monuments were announced to have been removed from review prior to the August 24 deadline:
AP: Interior secretary says he won’t eliminate protected lands