Leaked Document Details Plans for Protected Status of National Monuments

Francisco Kjolseth | The Salt Lake Tribune The two buttes that make up the namesake for the Bears Ears National Monument reveal the vast landscape surrounding them as part of the 1.35 million acres in southeastern Utah protected by President Barack Obama

"What is the objective of a marine monument if it is open to industrial fishing, drilling, and mining?" asks PEER Executive Director Jeff Ruch, pointing out that the memo was submitted a month ago but the White House refuses to comment because it is both "leaked" and still "under review". The report was prompted by an April executive order in which President Donald Trump instructed Zink to examine all national monuments created since January 1, 1996, that are at least 100,000 acres. But Zinke did recommend changes to ten of the 27 national monuments on the review list, including Bears Ears in Utah, Cascade-Siskiyou in OR and Gold Butte in Nevada.

The 1906 Antiquities Act permits presidents to declare national monuments without public input but limits the designation to "the smallest area compatible with proper care and management" of treasured objects, and now protects nearly 200 sites, Zinke noted.

Zinke also noted that the 1937 O&C Act requires those lands to be set aside for permanent forest production.

Earthjustice and several other environmental organizations plan to sue the federal government if Trump follows the recommendations outlined in Zinke's report and shrinks any of the national monuments. However no amounts are specified. By carving that land out for protection, the Bureau of Land Management loses out on 4 million to 6 million board feet of timber sales each year, Zinke wrote.

The Associated Press obtained a copy of the 19-page memo, which was submitted to the White House last month and has not been officially released. "If he tries to, we'll see him in court".

This NOAA map shows the USA exclusive economic zone boundaries and four marine national monuments.

Attempting to shrink Cascade-Siskiyou National Monument is a clear giveaway to the timber companies that have long wanted to log the old-growth forests of southern Oregon.

Be proactive - Use the "Flag as Inappropriate" link at the upper right corner of each comment to let us know of abusive posts. "Before the expansion of the monument in 2014, less than five percent of the catch was taken within that area".

"This complete lack of transparency is appalling and it demonstrates the arbitrary nature of Zinke's review", said Linda Castro, Assistant Policy Director for the California Wilderness Coalition, in a statement Monday.

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Regardless of the legal questions relating to presidential powers, Congress has the authority to create national monuments or make any changes, including abolishing them.

Changes could be coming to Nevada's Gold Butte National Monument, according to a leaked memo published by the Washington Post. Moan said her voice was not heard during the review.

He said the O&C lands present an interesting conundrum, but there have been subsequent laws passed since the 1940 decision, like the Clean Water Act and Endangered Species Act. "That is what the science tells us", said Jack Williams, a senior scientist with Trout Unlimited in Medford.

In July, O&C County Commissioners met with the Interior Secretary, along with U.S. Rep. Greg Walden.

"These funds are used to support important local services", Fite said.

"These factual errors make it look disinformed", Willis said in a phone interview.

"The fate of this OR treasure should not be another state secret on top of everything else this administration has tried to keep in the dark".

"Active timber management" typically refers to the cutting of trees for commercial use.

More information about the proposed future of the Cascade Siskiyou National Monument is coming out. Gold Butte is almost 300-thousand acres large, and people who live in Bunkerville, near the boundaries of Gold Butte, say the protections prevent locals from using the land like they have for decades.

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