Tuesday, May 09, 2017

Zinke questions monument status as way to save sacred land

U.S. Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke says he’s a “Teddy Roosevelt Republican” who values national monuments. But as he tours America’s newest and most hotly contested monument, he questions whether the monument designation by the federal government was the right way to preserve sacred tribal lands. Zinke said Monday at a news conference that Washington sometimes does things “that seem to be heavy-handed or without coordination.” “A lot of the anger that is out there in our country is that local communities and state just don’t feel like they’ve had a voice,” Zinke, a Montana Republican, said. On Tuesday, Zinke plans to visit a ranch and conservation area within Utah’s new national monument as he re-evaluates government protections on the vast expanse of tribal lands, canyons and plateaus. The visit to a multiple-use site on the northern part of Bears Ears National Monument follows tours Monday by helicopter and on foot, where Zinke was accompanied a group of Republican officials who called the monument’s declaration an abuse of power...more

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