A leaked memo from Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke to President Trump has revealed that the Secretary has recommended that six of the 27 national monuments that were under review to be reduced in size. This comes as a blow after it was announced less than a month ago that none of the national monuments would be eliminated. The high profile Bears Ears was among the monuments that Zinke wanted to shrink. In total, ten monuments could be affected and opened up to commercial activities like mining.
Environmental groups have vowed to sue if these changes get carried out:
A leaked memo from Zinke to President Donald Trump recommends that two Utah monuments — Bears Ears and Grand Staircase Escalante — be reduced, along with Nevada’s Gold Butte and Oregon’s Cascade-Siskiyou.
Two marine monuments in the Pacific Ocean also would be reduced according to Zinke’s memo, which has not been officially released. The Associated Press obtained a copy of the memo, which was first reported by The Wall Street Journal.
The review raised alarm among conservationists who said protections could be lost for areas that are home to ancient cliff dwellings, towering sequoia trees, deep canyons and ocean habitats. They’ve vowed to file lawsuits if Trump attempts any changes that would reduce the size of monuments or rescind their designations.