Published: Thu, August 24, 2017
Global News | By Stacy Ballard

Interior Secretary Zinke to make Bears Ears, Grand Staircase-Escalante recommendation Thursday

Interior Secretary Zinke to make Bears Ears, Grand Staircase-Escalante recommendation Thursday

ALBUQUERQUE ― As the deadline nears for U.S. Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke to complete his review of national monuments created under the Antiquities Act, U.S. Senators Tom Udall and Martin Heinrich, and U.S. Representatives Ben Ray Luján and Michelle Lujan Grisham urged him one more time to respect the wishes of thousands of New Mexicans who cherish Rio Grande del Norte and Organ Mountains-Desert Peaks national monuments, and leave them intact.

Zinke announced parts of his recommendations for the Trump administration in an interview with the Associated Press this morning.

The Carrizo Plain in Eastern San Luis Obispo County was one of 27 national monuments in the Western US which Zinke was ordered to review by an executive order from President Trump in April.

Many times, presidents reduced monuments slightly, such as when Franklin Roosevelt removed about 52 acres from Arizona's Wupatki National Monument in 1941 to make way for a dam. He did not share further details and it's unclear whether they will be forthcoming later today.

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A White House official said the President has seen the report.

Zinke has been reviewing 27 national monuments including the 87,500-acre (35,410-hectare) Katahdin Woods and Waters National Monument. But the same source also said that Zinke is trying to "thread the needle and craft recommendations that satisfy all parties involved".

"I've heard this narrative that somehow the land is going to be sold or transferred", Zinke said. "He and Trump will not be allowed to rob Americans of their public lands".

"Comments received were overwhelmingly in favor of maintaining existing monuments and demonstrated a well-orchestrated national campaign organized by multiple organizations", Zinke said in a statement.

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None of the sights would revert to new ownership, he told the AP.

"There's an expectation we need to look out 100 years from now to keep the public land experience alive in this country", Zinke said. Several are about the size of the state of DE, including Mojave Trails in California, Grand-Staircase Escalante in Utah and Bears Ears, which is on sacred tribal land.

Zinke visited New Mexico last month, meeting with stakeholders and the public.

This story will be updated. "However, having conducted the review".

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