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Interior Secretary Wants To Keep Katahdin National Monument In Maine

Interior Secretary Wants To Keep Katahdin National Monument In Maine

Department of the Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke is recommending that none of the 27 monuments put under review by the Trump administration be eliminated, but that some may be adjusted. "The land was public before and it will be public after".

According to a summary of the report, Zinke found that over the decades the scope and reasoning behind the designations has changed and that some proclamations were "arbitrary or politically motivated".

Canyon of the Ancients is one of half dozen national monuments originally under consideration for changes, but which were removed from the review process. The department said it met with local, state, tribal and other interested parties, and reviewed more than 2.4 million public comments submitted online.

Zinke commented that he will not ask President Trump to rescind any designations or revert sites to new ownership.

"There is no doubt that it is drop-dead gorgeous country and that it merits some degree of protection, but designating a monument that - including state land - encompasses nearly 1.5 million-acres where multiple-use management is hindered or prohibited is not the best use of the land and is not in accordance with the intention of the Antiquities Act", Zinke said in June.

National outdoor retailer REI and other companies have also opposed changes to monuments. They do not want to shrink our national monuments-and they deserve to know what the administration plans to do with the natural treasures they have worked for years to protect.

While supporters of the monuments are glad none of them are on the chopping block, the AP reports many are anxious about what the extent of the boundary adjustments in the document might be, and demand a public release of the document. The last president to reduce the size of a monument was John F. Kennedy who, in 1963, revised the boundaries of the Bandelier National Monument in New Mexico.

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Utah was the first stop on a tour of national monuments that Zinke conducted this year. Zinke recommends on Thursday that the monument remain, but also says it could be altered. "That narrative is patently false and shameful". The only real information conveyed in the report was Zinke's willingness to sweep aside overwhelming support for preserving public land safeguards. "A proposal to strip protections from public lands should be made public immediately". And this is not about energy development.

"While Utah's national monuments are a prime example of Antiquities Act Abuse, President Trump and Secretary Zinke are working to correct those past abuses and focus on the original meaning and intent of the law", Hatch said.

The Metate Arch within Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument, one of the 27 national monuments in question.

President Donald Trump tasked Zinke with reviewing more than 20 monuments, including Northeast Canyons.

"How important the Carrizo is to bringing tourism to this area", said Grant Helete with local community non-profit group ForestWatch which sent a letter to Interior Secretary Zinke urging him to maintain the current federal protections and size of the Carrizo Plain.

Arguments about federal overreach in the Obama and Clinton eras - which oversaw the creation of many new national monuments - were sometimes meekly given by government officials, the primary reason that eliminations were expected were opportunistic economic ones. An award-winning environmental journalist, his work has appeared in Scientific American, Audubon, Motherboard, and numerous other magazines and publications.

However, the interior secretary stated that some national monument designations remain controversial, and some of the monuments contain private property within their boundaries.