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Leaked Memo Reveals Trump Administration’s National Monument Hit List

Interior Secretary is recommending the roll back of protections for millions of acres of public lands.

(Photo by Marco Toso)

Untamed wilderness, archaeological relics thousands of years old, and undersea landscapes of corals, anemones and rare marine species are on the chopping block due to an executive order signed by President Donald Trump in April calling for a review of specific United States national monuments.

Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke completed his review of 27 national monuments from the South Pacific Ocean to the Atlantic off the coast of New England. The executive order targeted designations of at least 100,000 acres made by three former presidents:  Bill Clinton, George W. Bush and Barack Obama. They cited the 1906 Antiquities Act.

Zinke later made an exception to the areas for review by adding Katahdin Woods and Waters in central Maine. More than 87,000 acres of land, it was donated by private citizen Roxanne Quimby from her own real estate holdings for the purpose of creating a national park. President Obama honored her wish in 2016.

The White House refuses to release the official memorandum of recommendations by Zinke. But April’s executive order already sparked outrage from many corners including Native American tribes. Several monuments act to preserve their ancestral homelands, sacred spaces, or ancient artifacts including petroglyphs and ruins.

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