Monday, June 12, 2017

Zinke: Bears Ears monument boundaries need to change

Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke said the Bears Ears National Monument contains some management proscriptions that may be too restrictive and tribal interests were not granted adequate co-management authority in the designation made last December. For those reasons and others, his memorandum to President Donald J. Trump released Monday says Trump should request Congress to act to enable tribal co-management of the monument and the president should also move to revise those boundaries through his lawful authority. In short, the designation by former President Barack Obama fell outside the scope of the Antiquities Act because it was too broad and duplicated existing land designations that may provide an even higher level of protection. "Specifically, the review shows that rather than designating an entire area encompassing almost 1.5 million acres as a national monument, it would have been more appropriate to identify and separate the areas that have signficant objects to be protected," the memorandum reads, "to meet the purposes of the (Antiquities Act), including the area reserved be limited to the smallest area compatible with proper care and management of the objects. Zinke's recommendations are: • Revision of the boundaries through appropriate authority, including the exercise of presidential authority under the act • The president request congressional authority to enable tribal co-management of designated cultural areas within the monument boundaries • Congress make more appropriate conservation designations within the current monument boundaries, such as national recreation areas or national conservation areas • Congress clarify the intent of the management practices of wilderness or Wilderness Study Areas within the boundaries The monument, Zinke noted, overlaps 11 Wilderness Study Areas of 381,000 acres on Bureau of Land Management lands and the Dark Canyon Wilderness on Forest Service lands...more

The interim report is embedded below:

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