United States Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke has recommended that two more national monuments in the West be reduced in size. The recommendation to shrink Cascade-Siskiyou in Oregon and California and Gold Butte in Nevada comes shortly after the Trump Administration’s decision to remove millions of acres from Bears Ears and Grand Staircase-Escalante national monuments in Utah. Zinke also stated that President Trump should change the boundaries of two oceanic monuments, Pacific Remote Islands and Rose Atoll Marine in the Pacific Ocean. Rolling back Obama Administration policies and achievements is apparently a high priority for the Trump Administration. However, these plans have already been met with fierce opposition and legal challenges, casting doubt on when, if ever, these reductions will occur.
In a recent call with reporters, Zinke announced his policy recommendations. The Secretary also pushed back against a claim made by outdoor retailer Patagonia that Trump “stole” the land set aside for the national monuments, saying that Patagonia’s message was “nefarious, false and a lie.” “You mean Patagonia made in China?,” said Zinke. “This is an example of a special interest. I think it is shameful and appalling that they would blatantly lie in order to get money in their coffers.”
Bears Ears, one of the monuments set to be shrunk, was established by President Barack Obama with the support of five American Indian tribes for whom the site has spiritual significance. The tribes are now mounting a legal challenge to what conservation groups have called the largest elimination of protected land in American history. If President Trump accepts Zinke’s recommendations and also attempts to shrink Gold Butte and Cascade-Siskiyou, he will have added a new front in a legal war that will likely drag on for years, perhaps into a new administration.
Via The Guardian