Energy & Environment

2 national monuments safe from Trump administration’s review


Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke is formally asking President Trump to keep two national monument designations without any changes.

While Zinke’s recommendation doesn’t necessarily mean Trump won’t try to change the protections, the conclusions for Idaho’s Craters of the Moon and Washington’s Hanford Reach mean they are likely safe.

The Thursday announcement came amid a wide-ranging review by Zinke of more than two dozen national monuments designated over the last two decades. Trump may try to eliminate some of the monuments, though conservationists say he does not have the authority to do that.

{mosads}“When the President and I began the monument review process we absolutely realized that not all monuments are the same and that not all monuments would require modifications,” Zinke said in a statement.

Monday was the deadline for public comments for the monument review. About 2.6 million people submitted comments, and an analysis by a coalition of green groups found that the comments were overwhelmingly in favor of keeping monuments untouched.

Craters of the Moon, created in 1924 and greatly expanded in 2000, has strong support in Idaho, including from Gov. Butch Otter (R).

The monument protects a series of major lava fields and other geological formations, as well as some sagebrush grasslands.

Hanford Reach was created in 2000 and also has broad support. It protects numerous fish and wildlife species and their habitats.

“I commend everyone who made their voice heard during this process,” Sen. Patty Murray (D-Wash.) said in a statement. “Because of you, the Trump administration is getting the message loud and clear that families in our state and around the country are ready to fight back against ill-conceived efforts to roll back protections for our prized public lands.”

“Now that Secretary Zinke agrees that the protection for the Hanford Reach National Monument should not be changed, the Trump administration should abandon this review and the ill-advised effort to undermine national monuments altogether,” said Sen. Maria Cantwell (Wash.), top Democrat on the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, which oversees Interior. “An attack on one of our national monuments is an attack on all of them.”

Zinke announced last month that he is recommending the controversial Bears Ears National Monument in Utah be reduced in size, but he is not ready yet to specify the areas to be eliminated.

Tags Interior Department Maria Cantwell national monuments Patty Murray

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