Interior Dept recommends reducing Bears Ears, other protected land: report

Interior Dept recommends reducing Bears Ears, other protected land: report
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Interior Secretary Ryan ZinkeRyan Keith ZinkeOvernight Energy & Environment — Biden makes return to pre-Trump national monument boundaries official Want to evaluate Donald Trump's judgment? Listen to Donald Trump The Hill's Morning Report - Biden launches blitz for jobs plan with 'thank you, Georgia' MORE is recommending that the boundaries of Bears Ears and Grand Staircase-Escalante national monuments be reduced, according to a department report obtained by The Wall Street Journal.

The report, sent to the White House by the Department of the Interior in August, recommends scaling back the two national monuments as well as reopening hundreds of thousands of miles of protected oceans to commercial fishing.

“The Trump administration does not comment on leaked documents, especially internal drafts which are still under review by the president and relevant agencies,” White House spokeswoman Kelly Love told the Journal in a statement Sunday.

Zinke will not ask the president to eliminate any of the 27 protected areas that were under review since an April executive order.
The report signals another attempt by the Trump administration to roll back former President Obama's environmental legacy. Obama used the Antiquities Act to protect more land and water than any other president, and Trump’s review was aimed primarily at some of Obama’s most controversial decisions, like naming Bears Ears in Utah a national monument.

Other land monuments were also recommended for downsizing or being made less restrictive, according to the Journal. Those included Oregon’s Cascade-Siskiyou, Nevada’s Gold Butte, Maine’s Katahdin, and New Mexico’s Organ Mountains-Desert Peaks and Rio Grande Del Norte.

The areas that would be reopened to commercial fishing include Northeast Canyons and Seamounts off the Massachusetts coast and both Rose Atoll and the Pacific Remote Islands.

— Timothy Cama contributed to this report, which was updated on Sept. 18 at 7:43 a.m.