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Zinke’s Monument Review: Another Gift to Oil, Gas and Coal

By Jacob Eisenberg

Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke has recommended that his boss, President Trump, do what no President has done before: fundamentally change and substantially diminish America's national monuments. "Energy dominance" is a theme that has permeated Zinke's statements and acts as Interior Secretary. But its conspicuous scarcity in his rhetoric around the monument review should not fool anyone into thinking that increasing the availability of fossil fuel is not a significant motivation for the administration's attack on our monuments.

Rather, fossil fuel boosters played a key role in placing the monuments in the Secretary's crosshairs. The Bears Ears and Grand Staircase-Escalante national monuments, in particular, have faced a concerted campaign for their elimination by, among others, fossil fuel-linked advocates who want to open access to the oil, gas and coal resources within and around their boundaries. If the president or Congress accept Zinke's recommendations, it would be against the will and interest of the American public—a capitulation of American treasures to pad the profits of the world's richest industries.

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Cedar Mesa Valley of the Gods in the Bears Ears National Monument in southeastern Utah. Bob Wick, BLM

Navajo Nation Readies Legal Action if Trump Shrinks Bears Ears National Monument

Interior Sec. Ryan Zinke's recommendation to reduce the size of the Bears Ears National Monument in Utah could spark a legal battle between the Navajo Nation and the Trump administration.

"We are prepared to challenge immediately whatever official action is taken to modify the monument or restructure any aspect of that, such as the Bears Ears Commission," Ethel Branch, Navajo Nation attorney general, told Reuters.

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Gold Butte National Monument / U.S. Bureau of Land Management

Leaked Zinke Memo Urges Trump to Shrink National Monuments, Allow Drilling

Despite receiving 2.8 million comments from the public in support of our national monuments, U.S. Department of the Interior Sec. Ryan Zinke has advised President Trump to change the way at least 10 of these treasured areas are managed and to shrink the boundaries of at least four of them.

Zinke's report, submitted to Trump in late August and leaked Sunday night, didn't address more than a dozen other monuments that had been under official review.

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Bears Ears National Monument. Dan Norris

Zinke's Public Lands Recommendations Show 'Blatant Disrespect of the American People'

Interior Sec. Ryan Zinke released a vague report Thursday about the remaining 21 national monuments under review.

Details about reduction of acreage were not made public. Utah continues to wait for the details that will outline the fate of our precious Bears Ears and Grand Staircase-Escalante national monuments.

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Bears Ears National Monument in Utah. Bob Wick, BLM / Flickr

Zinke Recommends Shrinking a 'Handful' of the Nation's Most Cherished Public Lands

Interior Sec. Ryan Zinke will recommend unspecified boundary adjustments for a "handful" of the 27 national monuments under review by the Trump administration, according to an interview with the Associated Press.

Zinke commented that he will not ask President Trump to rescind any designations or revert sites to new ownership. Any areas removed from the protected lands would also remain under federal control and public access would remain or improve.

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Bears Ears National Monument in Utah. Mason Cummings

99% of Public Comments Oppose Trump's National Parks Review

A new analysis found that 99.2 percent of the millions of public comments submitted about Bears Ears National Monument and other parks opposed the executive order that placed them under scrutiny.

In April 2017, President Trump signed an executive order to review 27 parks designated since the beginning of 1996, with an eye toward shrinking boundaries and reducing protection for many of them. Shortly after, Interior Sec. Ryan Zinke opened a comment period to solicit input from the public, ostensibly to inform his recommendations about what to do with each of them.

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This Man Visited 27 National Monuments in 2 Weeks to Protect Them From Destruction

By Colleen Curry

People traveling across America today can, if they're lucky, pitch a tent in the same exact spot that early American explorers and map-makers Lewis and Clark did, amid the jagged rocks and sweeping plains of the Upper Missouri River Breaks in central Montana.

Brent Rose, a journalist and filmmaker who has been traveling around the U.S. in a van for two years, was one of the lucky ones.

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Is Giant Sequoia National Monument Next on the Hit List?

By Jason Mark

Sequoiadendron giganteum. That's the scientific name for the giant sequoia: the mammoth trees found in California's Sierra Nevada that are the largest organisms on Earth, and among the longest-lived. Biologists estimate that about half of all sequoias live in Giant Sequoia National Monument, a 328,000-acre preserve in the Southern Sierra Nevada established by President Clinton in 2000.

Now that national monument is in jeopardy.

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Natural Bridges National Monument is one of Bears Ears' most famous stretches of land. Jacob W. Frank

Zinke Calls for Scaling Back Bears Ears National Monument

Interior Sec. Ryan Zinke is recommending President Trump scale back portions of the Bears Ears National Monument, saying that the Antiquities Act should be used to protect the "smallest area" needed to cover important sites. Zinke's recommendations, announced Monday, add fuel to the controversy over the Utah monument, which President Obama designated during his final days in office.

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