Zinke To Recommend Keeping 27 Monuments But Modify Some

Zinke To Recommend Keeping 27 Monuments But Modify Some

Zinke To Recommend Keeping 27 Monuments But Modify Some

"The report is a draft, so we are continuing to work with Interior on getting the best information on which to base recommendations for the president", a White House official said. The almost four-month process pitted those who have felt marginalized by federal actions over the past 20 years against backers who see the sites as bolstering tourism and recreation while safeguarding important relics, environments and species.

"The law is clear: only Congress has the authority to change a national monument designation under the Antiquities Act - not the president", said Drew Caputo, the vice president of litigation for lands, oceans, and wildlife at Earthjustice, an environmental law center.

"Zinke is treating our national monuments like contestants on a reality TV show, and his anti-public lands allies in Congress are enabling this unsafe agenda", said Gene Karpinski, president of environmentalist group The League of Conservation Voters, which spent $100,000 on a pro-monument campaign last week.

Later this week the U.S. Department of the Interior is expected to announce a recommendation for the status of the Carrizo Plain National Monument.

Mitchell spoke Thursday after Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke recommended retaining the national monuments under review.

Many national monument proclamations have enjoyed broad support.

But he also noted opponents' concerns that designations had translated into reduced public access, confusing management plans "and pressure applied private land owners ... to sell".

They have vowed to file lawsuits if Trump attempts to rescind or reduce the monument designations for Bears Ears and the other 26 sites under revision, AP reports.

A recommendation not to eliminate any of 27 USA national monuments protecting wilderness and ocean has not alleviated concerns from conservation and tribal groups advocating for total preservation. He also said Bears Ears on tribal land in Utah should be downsized. But some of the key constituencies most critical of sweeping restrictions for federal lands and waters - ranchers, fishing operators and local Republican politicians - apparently won key concessions in his final set of recommendations.

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Environmentalist groups reacted negatively to the limited details provided by the public summary. A legal analysis commissioned by the National Parks Conservation Association cites a 1938 opinion by then-Attorney General Homer Cummings, who wrote that a monument designation has the force of law and can be reversed only by Congress. Woodrow Wilson, for instance, sliced Mount Olympus National Monument almost in half, which Theodore Roosevelt had created.

President Donald Trump has accused previous administrations of turning a 1906 law that lets the president protect federal land into a "massive federal land grab".

Trump said his executive order would "end another egregious abuse of federal power" and "give that power back to the states and to the people, where it belongs".

"It's an American right to roam in our public lands", the letter reads.

Giant Sequoia National Monument, which protects 33 groves of ancient sequoias - some of the world's largest trees - over 328,000 acres in the Sierra Nevada west of Visalia.

Tribal officials have lobbied hard to preserve Bears Ears, which boasts extensive ancestral Pueblo artifacts and rock art.

Chu lashed out at Zinke for failing to publicly disclose specifics of his recommendations, and indicating only that he was suggesting size-reductions for a "handful" of the monuments under review. In a call with reporters on Thursday House Natural Resources Committee, Chairman Rob Bishop (R-Utah) said that "Congress never intended one individual to unilaterally dictate land management policies for enormous swaths of federal land".

He adds: "We will do everything that we can to assure that these public lands and our monuments stay protected now and for future generations".

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