Cascade-Siskiyou National Monument should shrink in size, Interior Secretary tells Trump

Cascade-Siskiyou National Monument should shrink in size, Interior Secretary tells Trump

Cascade-Siskiyou National Monument should shrink in size, Interior Secretary tells Trump

Zinke also wrote that former President Obama's proclamation establishing both New Mexico monuments should be amended to "protect objects and prioritize pubic access, infrastructure repairs, fix and maintain traditional uses, tribal and cultural use and hunting and fishing rights".

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.

A four-month review was ordered by Mr Trump earlier this year after he complained the monuments were "land grabs" by former presidents, including Barack Obama.

Zinke's memorandum prioritized making sure that monument proclamations meet the wishes of local industries, arguing that "it appears that certain monuments were designated to prevent economic activity such as grazing, mining and timber production rather than to protect specific objects". Several are about the size of the state of DE, including Mojave Trails in California, Grand-Staircase Escalante in Utah and Bears Ears, which is on sacred tribal land.

No president has tried to eliminate a monument, but boundaries have been trimmed or redrawn 18 times, according to the National Park Service.

The president also spoke of protecting tribal interests and historical land grants, pointing to monuments in New Mexico, where Hispanic ranchers have opposed two monuments proclaimed by Obama.

But Zinke's recommendation does call for the boundaries of the protected area to be "revised" in order to "reduce impacts on private lands" and remove O&C lands that can be used for logging. The Associated Press said it was not clear from the memo how much energy development would be allowed on the sites recommended for changes, although the memo cites increased public access as a key goal.

A spokeswoman for Zinke referred questions to the White House, which said in a statement that it does not comment on leaked documents.

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But significant reductions in the size of the monuments, especially those created by Obama, would mark the latest in a string of actions where Trump has sought to erode his Democratic predecessor's legacy.

National monuments can be so designated through the power of the Antiquities Act of 1906. Zinke's shortened visit was bemoaned by those miffed about his ongoing review that they fear will lead to reducing the size of Gold Butte and Basin and Range national monuments.

The recommendations could meet with resistance from Democrats in New Mexico's congressional delegation, as well as state and national environment and conservation groups, who have lobbied aggressively to persuade the Trump administration to keep the New Mexico monuments fully intact. He also said that Bears Ears monument in Utah should be downsized.

Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke wants to allow trees to be cut on parts of the Katahdin Woods and Waters National Monument and to ensure that "traditional uses" like snowmobiling and hunting to be taken into account in the management plan.

The president could also send the recommendations to Congress and request that lawmakers make the adjustments.

The Wilderness Society is threatening legal action, calling the recommendations an unprecedented assault on our parks and public lands.

The Natural Resources Defense Council believes the Trump administration is using a classic negotiating tactic in its review of national monuments: threatening the worst and spinning the ultimate outcome, however outrageous, as a reasonable result.

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