WASHINGTON, Sept. 20, 2017 - Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke has recommended shrinking the size of four land-based national monuments and “prioritizing” public access at a total of 10 monuments, in a review of 27 monuments he delivered to President Trump last month. The review, which is in the form of a memo to Trump, was leaked to The Washington Post and has been posted online. The memo does not recommend specific boundary changes, but Zinke is clearly seeking smaller designations, writing that designations should ensure that the monument areas “be limited to the smallest area compatible” with management of the objects to be protected. The monuments targeted for downsizing are Bears Ears and Grand Staircase-Escalante in Utah, Gold Butte in Nevada, and Cascade-Siskiyou in Oregon, as well as two marine monuments – the Pacific Remote Islands and Rose Atoll. Public Lands Council Executive Director Ethan Lane said PLC did not want to get ahead of the process but that “we certainly are happy with what we have seen so far. This is the review process that should have happened when the monuments were created in the first place.” The memo discusses grazing briefly, saying that while “it is uncommon for proclamations to prohibit grazing outright, restrictions resulting from monument designations on activities such as vegetative management can have the indirect result of hindering livestock-grazing areas.” In Grand Staircase-Escalante, monument designation did not result in a reduction in permitted livestock grazing, but cattle runs have decreased because of BLM actions to reduce erosion, vegetation management and the movement of water lines, the memo says. Environmental groups said size reductions or changes in monument management would be met with litigation.
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