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Zinke Recommends Monuments Remain Untouched

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Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke said he’s recommending that none of 27 national monuments carved from wilderness and ocean and under review by the Trump administration be eliminated.

This Associated Press story appeared on MSN.com.

But there would be changes to a “handful,” he said.

Zinke told The Associated Press that unspecified boundary adjustments for some monuments carved out of wilderness and ocean over the past four decades will be included in the recommendations he planned to give President Donald Trump on Thursday. None of the sites would revert to new ownership, he said, while public access for uses such as hunting, fishing or grazing would be maintained or restored.

He also spoke of protecting tribal interests and historical land grants, pointing to monuments in New Mexico, where Hispanic ranchers have opposed two monuments proclaimed by President Barack Obama.

Zinke declined to say whether portions of the monuments would be opened up to oil and gas drilling, mining, logging and other industries for which Trump has advocated.

If Trump adopts the recommendations, it would quiet some of the worst fears of his opponents, who warned that vast public lands and marine areas could be lost to states or private interests.

But significant reductions in the size of the monuments, especially those created by Obama, would mark the latest in a string of actions where Trump has sought to erode his Democratic predecessor’s legacy.

The recommendations cap an unprecedented four-month review based on a belief that the century-old Antiquities Act had been misused by past presidents to create oversized monuments that hinder energy development, grazing and other uses.

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