Final Report on National Monuments Review
Issued August 25, 2017
About four months after Trump’s Executive Order calling for the review of 27 National Monuments, Ryan Zinke, the Secretary of the Interior, has submitted his final report. While Zinke has not recommended the elimination of any monuments, a few have been suggested for resizing, including Bears Ears National Monument, Grand Staircase-Escalante and Cascade-Siskiyou. The next step is for Congress to review and vote on the recommendations outlined in the report. Since the release of Zinke’s recommendations, no further action has taken place, and there is not a date set for voting at this time.
Obama’s establishment of Bears Ears National Monument in Southern Utah was the initial flashpoint for this review. Bears Ears was established in the last days of Obama’s presidency to protect the cultural sites of Native peoples in the region, and Utah legislators approached President Trump the day after his inauguration about eliminating the monument. It comes at no surprise that Bears Ears is on the list for resizing. While Trump says that he is returning the lands to the people, he has encountered a resistant public. Over 2.8 million comments were formally filed with the Department of the Interior, and over 99 percent were in favor of preserving the National Monuments. It seems that Zinke is aware of the public backlash to the President’s order and his recommendations. He did not originally release his final report to the public, and what was available initially contained no specifics. Legal organizations, tribal leaders, attorney generals of various states and conservation organizations have vowed to oppose these measures.
Although the window for comments has closed, there are still options for action before the proposed downsizing reaches Congress for decision.
- Write your senators or Secretary Zinke in defense of national monuments.
- Inter-Tribal Coalition – A group of five Native tribes dedicated to the conservation of Bears Ears cultural and environmental landscape.
- The Wilderness Society – One of the leading conservation organizations working to protect our wild lands and inspire other Americans to care for these places.
- Earth Justice – A legal organization with the goals of protecting the wild, healthy communities, clean energy, and a healthy climate.
- National Park Conservation Association – A non-profit protecting the national park system.
This brief was compiled by Megan Toney. If you have comments or want to add the name of your organization to this brief please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.