Press Release Aug 24, 2017

Zinke Proposes Reductions for Some of America’s Public Lands

Based on a news interview that Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke conducted today, he is recommending that several national monuments be reduced in size.

BACKGROUND: Based on a news interview that Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke conducted today, he is recommending that several national monuments be reduced in size. The Interior Department’s action is in response to the President’s Executive Order, issued on April 26, ordering the agency to review national monuments designated by the Antiquities Act. The Department of Interior’s hit list included 27 national monuments designated under the act, including a national park site, Katahdin Woods and Waters in Maine and several others that connect national park lands like Bears Ears and Grand Staircase-Escalante in Utah and Mojave Trails in California. This arbitrary process not only wrongfully calls into question the value of these places, it blatantly disregards the will of the American people.

As part of the executive order review process, more than 2.8 million comments were submitted to Interior during the 60-day public comment period, with comments in support of keeping national monuments protected as they stand.

Since 1906, 16 U.S. Presidents, representing both political parties, have designated more than 150 national monuments using the Antiquities Act. From Acadia to Zion, to the Statue of Liberty, many of our most iconic national parks were first protected using the Antiquities Act.

Statement by Theresa Pierno, President and CEO for National Parks Conservation Association

“To recommend diminishing the size of just one national monument is one too many. And it opens the door to allow mining, oil and gas and other destructive development. This could be a devastating blow for all Americans, and our lands and waters that are so deserving of protection.

“Business owners and community members came together to advocate for protection of these great places when they were first designated and again through this arbitrary review process. From Bears Ears in Utah, to Mojave Trails in California to Katahdin Woods and Waters in Maine, these places have spiritual significance to Native American peoples and the millions of visitors who go to these national monuments each year. They learn about our rich cultural resources, view their night skies, paddle their wild rivers and explore their wild landscapes of canyons, woods, mountains and desert lands. And now, Secretary Zinke is dismissing these resources and values, as well as the 2.8 million American voices who spoke out once again for the protection of these great places.

“On behalf of National Parks Conservation Association, our 1.3 million members and supporters, and all those who treasure America’s national parks and monuments, I assure you. We won’t let this stand.”

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About National Parks Conservation Association Since 1919, the nonpartisan National Parks Conservation Association has been the leading voice in safeguarding our national parks. NPCA and its more than 1.3 million members and supporters work together to protect and preserve our nation’s natural, historic, and cultural heritage for future generations. For more information, visit www.npca.org.