Trump's national monument changes return to spotlight
Wednesday, 13 March 2019 SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — As Democrats in Congress prepare to scrutinize President Donald Trump's review of 27 national monuments, most of the recommendations made by ex-Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke remain unfinished as other matters consume the White House.
Trump acted quickly in December 2017 on Zinke's recommendations to shrink two sprawling Utah monuments that had been criticized as federal government overreach by the state's Republican leaders since their creation by Democratic Presidents Barack Obama and Bill Clinton.
But in the 15 months since Trump downsized the Utah monuments, the president has done nothing with Zinke's proposal to shrink two more monuments, in Oregon and Nevada, and change rules at six others, including allowing commercial fishing inside three marine monuments in waters off New England, Hawaii and American Samoa.
Zinke resigned in December amid multiple ethics investigations — and has joined a Washington, D.C. lobbying firm. Trump has nominated as his replacement Acting Interior Secretary David Bernhardt, a former lobbyist for the oil and gas industry and other corporate interests.
A sweeping public lands bill signed into law on Tuesday by Trump creates five new monuments — two of which Zinke suggested — but none of the reductions or other changes he recommended.
The monument review was based on arguments from Trump and others that a law signed by President Theodore Roosevelt allowing presidents to declare monuments had been improperly used to protect wide expanses of lands instead of places with particular historical or archaeological value.
On Wednesday, the House Natural Resources Committee will host a hearing that the Democratic majority said will focus on the "inadequate" nature of the administration's review. Democrats claim the move to shrink the monuments was illegal and...
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