Trump Administration Wants to Shrink Several National Monuments in the West, Allow Commercial Uses on Others

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A Los Angeles Times graphic shows the Trump administration’s plans for national monuments as of September 2017.

The Trump administration’s plan for shrinking and diminishing protections at America’s national monuments appears far more expansive than previously reported, targeting 10 of the nation’s most ecologically sensitive landscapes and marine preserves for diminished protection.

The sun peeks around “Bears Ears #1” in the Bears Ears National Monument on May 11, 2017, outside Blanding, Utah. (Credit: George Frey/Getty Images)

The plan, which the White House has been keeping secret since it was submitted by Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke late last month, would shrink the borders at half a dozen monuments and ocean preserves and open four others up for uses such as commercial fishing, logging and coal mining, according to a copy of the blueprint obtained by the Wall Street Journal and Washington Post.

The Zinke plan, if adopted, will have limited effect in California. Only one of the monuments targeted, the Cascade-Siskiyou on the Oregon border, has land in the state. Zinke did not specify in his 19-page memorandum how the boundaries of that or any of the other public lands targeted should be changed.

But the impact on the West overall would be dramatic. The other monuments Zinke is proposing to shrink include Bears Ears and Grand Staircase-Escalante in Utah, which together encompass 3.2 million acres. Zinke is also urging a downsizing of the nearly 297,000-acre Gold Butte National Monument in Nevada.

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