This means that the flowering, viridian Carrizo Plain National Monument in California, the forested Cascade-Siskiyou National Monument in OR, OR the truly massive, sand-swept Mojave Trails National Monument will nearly certainly remain as they are. It then goes on to explain that opponents of maintaining national monument designations were most often “local residents associated with industries such as grazing, timber production, mining, hunting and fishing, and motorized recreation”.
The Department of Interior summary that was released certainly suggests that changes are being recommended, pointing out that “Since 1996 alone, the (Antiquities) Act has been used by the President 26 times to create monuments that are over 100,000 acres or more in size and have included private property within the identified external boundaries”. The other two are reportedly in Utah. But that didn’t stop the mining and oil interests from attempting to blow up the deal now that they have a new administration in Washington whose “Drain the Swamp” policy seems to be applied a lot more often to actual swamps and natural resources than the cesspool of Washington influence-peddling.
The Bears Ears buttes, located in Utah, is one of the more controversial monuments under review by the Department of the Interior.
Industries that were shut out of the land and water by monument designations, such as oil, coal, ranching and fishing, could potentially be allowed in the areas withdrawn from monument designations.
Monument supporters in Nevada are bracing for bad news.
“Any change, be it a boundary change or a change to the management of those lands could have pretty significant impacts to the lands”, he said. Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke has said Bears Ears should be “right-sized”. “Throughout the year, and especially during the springtime wildflower “superblooms” that define the Carrizo Plain, hundreds of thousands of people visit this treasured landscape”, the ForestWatch letter states, “when they do, they also purchase gas at our local service stations, food at our local restaurants and grocery stores, lodging at our local hotels, and supplies and necessities at our local shops”. “That’s a very selfish attitude”.
One of the national monuments at the center of this review is Bears Ears in Utah. His report acknowledged the broad consensus while also dismissing it as the result in part of motivated special interest groups. While Utah’s national monuments are a prime example of Antiquities Act Abuse, President Trump and Secretary Zinke are working to correct those past abuses and focus on the original meaning and intent of the law.
The review was conducted on federal land in 11 mostly Western states.
The review raised alarm among conservationists concerned by the possible loss of ancient cliff dwellings, towering sequoia trees, deep canyons and ocean habitats.
However, the secretary did say that he recommended boundary changes for a “handful” of sites, the Associated Press reported. Orrin Hatch said Zinke followed the proper process with his review.
“I’ve heard this narrative that somehow the land is going to be sold or transferred”, Zinke said. “That narrative is patently false and shameful”.
Some Republican lawmakers criticized Obama’s action at the time, saying it would restrict access to public land and have a negative impact on water resources, flood control facilities and roads. Hartinger noted that Zinke’s phrasing seemed to try to frame the decision “as some generous gift or compromise”, when the threat of shrinking protected lands is actually a major blow to conservation.
The monuments under review were designated by four presidents over the last two decades. There are 27 monuments that fall within that category, including six in California. Legal scholars agree that the president does not have authority under the Antiquities Act to significantly alter a national monument.
Conservative legal scholars have come down on the side of the administration.