Interior Secretary Zinke recommended modifying 10 national monuments created by his immediate predecessors, including shrinking boundaries of four, according to a leaked copy of the report obtained by The Washington Post.
Zinke submitted the memo in late August. It does not specify exact reductions for the four protected land areas — Utah’s Bears Ears and Grand Staircase-Escalante, Nevada’s Gold Butte, and Oregon’s Cascade-Siskiyou.
The memo also recommended changes for two marine national monuments — the Pacific Remote Islands and Rose Atoll. President George W. Bush established them both.
Rose Atoll marine monument near American Samoa supports our ocean economy, which employs over 3M people.
— NRDC (@NRDC) August 13, 2017
The recommendations also change the management of natural resources at all 10 targeted sites. It emphasizes putting the needs of “affected industries” in the forefront ahead of preservation of Native American history or conservation of endangered habitats or species. According to Secretary Zinke, the Trump administration should permit “traditional uses” now restricted within the monuments’ boundaries, such as grazing, logging, coal mining and commercial fishing.
“It appears that certain monuments were designated to prevent economic activity such as grazing, mining and timber production rather than to protect specific objects…”
The memo adds that while grazing is rarely banned “outright,” conservation based management decisions “can have the indirect result of hindering livestock-grazing uses”. Concerns about ranching garner more attention than any topic in his report.
The “traditional uses” Secretary Zinke seeks to protect are a few hundred years old. However the Secretary does not address the traditional uses for the areas dating back thousands of years in his memo.