Bears Ears: Zinke Wants to Reduce It, Revise Approach to Managing It

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"There is no doubt that it is drop-dead gorgeous country and that it merits some degree of protection, but designating a monument. where multiple-use management is hindered or prohibited is not the best use of the land and is not in accordance with the intention of the Antiquities Act", Zinke said.

Utah, which was established during the final weeks of the Obama administration over the objections of state lawmakers and other stakeholders, is far too big to conform to the specifications in the Antiquities Act, a 1906 law that sets out rules for national monuments.

Zinke also recommended Native American tribes be allowed to co-manage "cultural areas" within the resized monument - a nod to tribes that had lobbied for protections for the territory - and that Congress review conservation policies in the area. He called on Congress to approve a land-management bill for Bears Ears and other federal lands. In a closed-to-the-public press call today, Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke outlined his recommendations to the president.

"Who is to say that, in the future, a president couldn't just put a whole basin under monument designation", said Kathleen Sgamma, president of the Western Energy Alliance, representing oil and gas companies.

President Trump specifically recognized Senator Hatch and handed Senator Hatch the pen that he used to sign the executive order.

Zinke, a former Republican congressman from Montana, said he wants to make sure Native American culture is preserved and said Congress should approve legislation granting tribes legal authority to "co-manage" some of the Bears Ears site.

Environmental groups called Zinke's recommendations an attack on public lands that ignores hundreds of thousands of online comments in favor of leaving Bears Ears intact. In the meantime, he's welcoming more online comments on Bears Ears through July 10.

The interior secretary was ordered to undertake the review of Bears Ears and several other monuments throughout the nation on April 27, when President Trump issued an executive order demanding a wholesale comprehensive review.

If Trump follows through with an attempt to roll back portions of the national monument, some supporters have warned they will file a lawsuit arguing the Antiquities Act only gives the president the right to create monuments, not revoke them.

The secretary traveled last month to the Bears Ears site, which lies within Utah's San Juan County, to listen to the state's politicians and nearby residents who opposed the designation.

Zinke added that the administration has enormous respect for tribes and their "sovereignty, respect and self-determination".

Zinke avoided making specific recommendations about how to change the monument, saying he needs more time for consideration.

The department will also review the designations attached to five marine reserves including the Papahanaumokuakea Marine National Monument, which is the largest such marine reserve in the world.

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