SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — The Latest on Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke’s recommendation to downsize a vast new national monument in Utah (all times local):
Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke’s recommendation to downsize a vast new national monument in Utah is creating optimism for opponents of 26 other monuments under review.
It’s also fueling fear among conservation groups that worry Zinke will propose shrinking or rescinding other sites in his final report due in late August.
Beth Casoni, executive director of the Massachusetts Lobstermen’s Association Inc., says commercial fishermen are more hopeful now that the Northeast Canyons and Seamounts Marine National Monument will be reduced or revoked.
Opponents of other sites are making similar plans after the Bears Ears decision, saying the designations often close areas to oil, gas and mineral development along with other uses.
Conservation groups that were stung by the recommendation are trying to rally public support to fully preserve the monuments but expect they will have to resort to a protracted legal fight if President Donald Trump eventually downsizes or eliminates monument designations.
Kristen Boyles, a staff attorney with the environmental group Earthjustice, said it’s obvious the goal is to serve private interests over the public good.
Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke’s recommendation to downsize the new Bears Ears National Monument in Utah was applauded by the state’s top Republican leaders.
However, it marked a stinging setback for a coalition of Western tribes that pushed for protection of lands they consider sacred.
Zinke, a former Republican congressman from Montana, said Monday he’s committed to make sure Native American culture is preserved and vowed to push for Congress to approve legislation granting tribes legal authority to co-manage some of the Bears Ears site.
He said he discussed the idea with the tribes and that they came away happy with the plan.
Several tribal leaders balked at that characterization, saying they weren’t briefed on the plan and consider the idea to be an attempt to temper their criticism.
They joined environmental groups in vowing to file lawsuits if President Donald Trump accepts the recommendation and shrinks the monument.
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