Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke did not recommend eliminating any national monuments, but he suggested in a draft review ordered by President Donald Trump that shrinking some monument boundaries could open federal lands to energy production.
Bears Ears National Monument. Photo by U.S. Bureau of Land Management
Trump ordered a review of 27 national monuments designated by past presidents under the American Antiquities Act of 1906. The law was intended to preserve “historic landmarks, historic and prehistoric structures, and other objects of scientific interest” on federal land.
In his recommendations, Zinke proposed significantly scaling back the borders of the Bears Ears and Grand Staircase-Escalante national monuments in Utah and the Cascade-Siskiyou National Monument in Oregon.
The AMA believes that some designations by previous administrations may have overstepped the act’s provisions by including more than just “the smallest area compatible with proper care and management of the objects to be protected.”
Expanding a monument’s boundaries beyond the act’s parameters could jeopardize opportunities for responsible off-highway recreation.