Zinke plan calls for shrinking 2 more national monuments

The Trump administration plans to shrink two additional national monuments, in Nevada and along the California-Oregon border, Kallanish Energy learns.

U.S. Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke, in a report to President Trump, called for making boundary changes at 297,000-acre Gold Butte National Monument in Nevada, and 100,000-acre Cascade-Siskiyou National Monument in the Pacific Northwest.

Zinke offered no specifics on the boundary changes planned at the two national monuments, although he called the proposed changes modest.

His plan, unveiled on Tuesday, comes one day after Trump signed paperwork to shrink two national monuments in southern Utah: Bears Ears, currently 1.3 million acres and Grand Staircase-Escalante, currently with 1.9 million acres. The size of the two monuments would be reduced by nearly 2 million acres under the Trump plan, which goes into effect in 60 days.

That could open up additional federal lands to drilling, grazing, mining and other activities. Lawsuits have been filed by Native American tribes and environmentalists to block the changes in Utah.

Under Trump’s plan, Bear Ears would largely disappear. It would be replaced by two national monuments that together cover about 202,000 acres: Indian Creek and Shash Jaa.

Grand Staircase-Escalante would be reduced to three newly recognized monuments: Grand Staircase, Escalante Canyon and Kaiparowits. Together they would cover just over 1 million acres.

Zinke’s plan also calls for historic national monuments in Kentucky and Mississippi and a wilderness area in Montana.

His report to Trump also calls for modifying the borders of two Pacific Ocean marine monuments and allowing more fishing at a marine monument in the Atlantic Ocean. Fishing in those areas has been limited by the monument designations.

Zinke’s plan also calls for increased hunting and fishing in national monuments. He noted the land withdrawn from national monuments will remain federal land and will not be sold and will be managed by federal agencies.

Trump had ordered Zinke to look at 27 national monuments, mostly in the West. He had expressed concern over the size of some monuments, how they impacted nearby communities and how activities like drilling are banned.

The U.S. has more than 150 national monuments that safeguard roughly 77 million acres of historical and cultural sites and wildlands.