Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Businesses battle over Trump's review of national monuments

President Donald Trump has pursued a business-focused agenda by vowing to cut regulatory red tape, a move that resulted in an Interior Department review that could change the designation of more than two dozen national monuments. But the review has created a tug-of-war between industries like fishing, ranching and logging, arguing the creation of monuments comes at the cost of jobs, and the Main Street businesses that get foot traffic from visitors to the monuments. "We'll look at what sectors were affected, plus or minus, and that will be part of the recommendation," Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke said in April when the executive order was announced, saying he recognizes both sides of the issue. Since the window for public comments period opened Friday, more than 10,000 letters have been posted on the Interior Department's landing page. Some support the review; others support keeping the monuments as they are. Take Oregon's Cascade-Siskiyou National Monument. In March, a forestry lobby sued the Interior Department for unlawful of expansion of the park, calling the restriction of federal timberlands "disastrous" for the Northwest economy and citing the loss of "thousands of family-wage forestry jobs." On the flip side, small businesses cite the Main Street impact of the monument; a hotel operator says the Cascade-Siskiyou has been "of great value" to its guests, and a couple running an area kid's clothing store says the monument "has only helped our local economy."...more

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