Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Upper Missouri Breaks will keep its national monument status, Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke says

Cutting off public campaigns by proponents and opponents, U.S. Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke said Tuesday he plans to recommend the Upper Missouri Breaks retain its status as a national monument, effectively taking it off the list of monuments nationwide that could lose their status. “My likely recommendation will be to leave the Missouri Breaks as is,'' Zinke said. "I think it’s settled to a degree that I would rather not open up a wound that has been healed.'' Zinke made his remarks at a press conference following his appearance at the Western Governors’ Association meeting. The announcement shocked people on both sides of the issue. Nicolle Fugere, owner of Missouri River Outfitters in Fort Benton, was featured in one of four billboards erected in Flathead County, by a group called Hold Our Ground, which opposes the review. "I honestly did not think it would go in this direction, so it was a bit of a shock," she said. A recent Headwaters Economics report was cited by Hold Our Ground, which found that communities around the monument saw a "23 percent increase of real per capita income from 2001 to 2015." Chuck Denowh, who represents the United Property Owners of Montana in the Legislature, said the monument has had a "terrible impact" on the area's economy, not a benefit. "Especially for those many Montanans with property inside those boundaries," Denowh said. "That's 81,000 acres of private land." Denowh called Zinke's announcement "deeply disappointing," but he and Fugere aren't completely sure that the review has been dropped given Zinke's phrasing in the announcement that he would "likely" recommend leaving the monument as it is now..more

1 comment:

Howard Hutchinson said...

"Meet the new boss, same as the old boss."