Speed Reads

national monuments

Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke is proposing shrinking at least 6 national monuments

In a final report on modifying 27 national monuments, Interior Secretary Ryan ZInke advises President Trump to shrink at least six of the monuments created by former Presidents Barack Obama, George W. Bush, and Bill Clinton, and make changes to how four others are managed, according to copies of the report obtained by The Washington Post and The Associated Press. He recommends that six of the 27 stay unchanged, and makes no mention of the other 11 national monuments.

Zinke's report does not specify how much each national monument — Bear's Ears and Grand Staircase-Escalante in Utah, Oregon's Cascade-Siskiyou, Gold Butte in Nevada, and the Pacific marine monuments Pacific Remote Islands and Rose Atoll — would be downsized. Trump ordered a review of his immediate predecessors' use of the 1906 Antiquities Act, saying they had overreached. The law, enacted by Theodore Roosevelt, gives presidents broad powers to set aside lands for public preservation, and while no president has rescinded a national monument designation, on rare occasions presidents have trimmed the size of a monument.

Zinke focuses on increasing public access to the monuments for hunting, commercial fishing, and grazing — while acknowledging that grazing is rarely banned "outright" — but the modified proclamations would also likely open up the public lands to oil and gas drilling, commercial logging, and mining. Conservation groups noted that no president has considered toying with national monuments to this extent and promised to sue if Trump follows through with Zinke's recommendations. "This law was intended to protect places from development, not promote damaging natural and cultural resources," said Kristen Brengel at the National Parks Conservation Association.

Zinke also proposed creating three smaller national monuments: Kentucky's Camp Nelson, the home of murdered civil rights hero Medgar Evers in Jackson, Mississippi, and the Badger-Two Medicine area in Montana.