Zinke recommends keeping federal lands in federal ownership; 3 new monuments under consideration

BLM PRESS RELEASE: WASHINGTON -- December 5, 2017, in accordance with President Donald J. Trump's April 26, 2017, Executive Order (EO), U.S. Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke released the final report outlining recommendations he made to the President on some national monument designations under the Antiquities Act.



Recommendations Secretary Zinke made in the final report included the following:

Keep federal lands federal - the report does not recommend that a single acre of federal land be removed from the federal estate. If land no longer falls within a monument boundary it will continue to be federal land and will be managed by whichever agency managed the land before designation

Add three new national monuments - Secretary Zinke recommended beginning a process to consider three new national monuments: The Badger II Medicine Area (Montana), Camp Nelson (Kentucky), and the Medgar Evers Home (Mississippi).

Modify the boundaries and management of four monuments - Bears Ears, Grand Staircase, Cascade-Siskiyou, and Gold Butte National Monuments

Expand access for hunting and fishing - Maintain an ongoing review to ensure public access to encourage more hunting and fishing in monuments

"America has spoken and public land belongs to the people," said Secretary Zinke. "As I visited the Monuments across this country, I met with Americans on all sides of the issue -- from ranchers to conservationists to tribal leaders -- and found that we agree on wanting to protect our heritage while still allowing public access to public land. My recommendations to the President reflect that, in some circumstances, proclamations should be amended, boundaries revised, and management plans updated."

FACT VS FICTION: Antiquities Act and Monument Review

Myth: No president has shrunk a monument.

False: Monuments have been reduced at least eighteen times under presidents on both sides of the aisle. Some examples include President John F. Kennedy adjusting Bandelier National Monument boundaries, Presidents Taft, Wilson, and Coolidge reducing Mount Olympus National Monument, and President Eisenhower reducing the Great Sand Dunes National Monument in Colorado.

Myth: The monument review will sell/transfer public lands to states.

False: This is not true. The Secretary adamantly opposes the wholesale sale or transfer of public lands. The Antiquities Act only allows federal land to be reserved as a national monument. Therefore, if any monument is reduced, the land would remain federally owned and would be managed by the appropriate federal land management agency, such as the BLM, U.S. Forest Service, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, or the National Park Service (NPS).

Myth: Removing the monument designation from land will leave Native American artifacts and paleontological objects subject to looting or desecration.

False: This is not true. Whether these resources are found on land designated as a monument, national forest, BLM- managed public land, or other federal land, it is generally illegal to remove or disrupt these resources without a permit issued by the federal government.

Myth: The monument review will close/sell/transfer national parks.

False: No national parks are under review.

Myth: The review was done without meeting advocates for national monuments.

False: The Secretary visited eight monuments in six states and personally hosted more than 60 meetings attended by hundreds of local stakeholders. Attendees included individuals and organizations representing all sides of the debate ranging from environmental organizations like the Wilderness Society and the Nature Conservancy to county commissioners and, residents, and ranchers who prefer multiple use of the land.

Myth: Tribal Nations were not consulted.

False: This is patently false. Before traveling to Utah, the Secretary met with Tribal representatives in his office. On his first day in Utah in May, the Secretary met with the Bears Ears Inter-Tribal Coalition in Salt Lake City, for just under two hours. Throughout the four-day survey of the Utah monuments, the Secretary also met with local Tribal representatives who represent different sides of the debate. The Secretary also met with Tribal representatives for their input on several other monuments from Maine to New Mexico to Oregon and everywhere in between. Additionally, the Department hosted several Tribal listening sessions at the Department and across the country, including a four hour session with the Acting Deputy Secretary on May 30, 2017.

2 comments

  • Steve Ulvi Friday, 08 December 2017 08:12 Comment Link

    From the information provided above by Dept of Interior debunking some of the "reasons" for doing this to established federal monuments no lands are slated for privatization. Nor transfer to the state. There would be no real reason to do either of those things because Interior has been busy hamstringing the federal agencies regulatory and enforcement abilities and cutting budgets as with EPA oversight. Scientific studies conducted by agency personnel are being "cleansed" and redirected to allow questionable enviro impacts in order to allow resource extraction, road building, mechanized uses for hunting and fishing, increased grazing and all manner of local community economic interests to be more quickly allowed under weakened federal oversight. No need to transfer land ownership from the US Congress at all...they have exactly what they need for overuse and abuse in the name of access and local economic growth.

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  • Jay Taber Thursday, 07 December 2017 07:33 Comment Link

    Privatizing public land, as Secretary Zinke has proposed, unfortunately destroys the ecology and tribal cultural heritage for the benefit of oil, gas, coal and uranium mining. The land might remain federal, but despoiled.

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