Monday, July 31, 2017

Interior Chief Makes Clear He Believes In Small-sizing National Monuments

U.S. Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke toured two national monuments in Nevada on Sunday and canceled plans for meetings Monday in the Las Vegas area in order to head back to Washington, D.C., for what he said will be a Cabinet meeting involving President Donald Trump's top appointees. Zinke met reporters outside a rancher's home in Bunkerville, the hometown of jailed cattleman and anti-government icon Cliven Bundy about 80 miles northeast of Las Vegas. He didn't meet with any Bundy family members. The head of the department that includes the Bureau of Land Management made it clear he believes in small-sizing national monuments. "They can't be large tracts of public land or private land or state land," Zinke said. Zinke toured the Gold Butte and Basin and Range national monuments, which cover a combined 1,500 square miles — more than half the size of Delaware. But he didn't say he's made any decisions about whether to downsize the two monuments created last year by President Barack Obama before he left office. "Monuments have been adjusted ...18 times before, Zinke said. "So I don't think there's too much question that a monument can be adjusted. Whether a monument can be rescinded or not, that is a question for the courts." "What I've learned in this monument review is that every monument is unique," Zinke said Sunday afternoon. Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto, a Nevada Democrat, recently made a two-minute videotape and Rep. Jacky Rosen, a Democrat running for Republican Sen. Dean Heller's seat in 2018, sent a letter to Zinke urging him to keep his hands off Nevada's natural treasures. In addition to preserving cultural history, native wildlife and scenic beauty, Gold Butte and Basin and Range generate more than $150 million annually for Nevada's economy, they said...more

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