Interior Secretary Recommends Eliminating Protections for Ten of America’s National Monuments

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Garrett Garner-Wells

Denver, CO – Ten national monuments could soon lose some protections and be spoiled by mining, drilling, logging and overfishing, according to a U.S. Interior Department document leaked last night. Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke is recommending that President Donald Trump eliminate parts of four national monuments, including Bears Ears National Monument in Utah, and open six other national monuments to commercial industry that threatens the land, water and wildlife. Not only is this recommendation environmentally irresponsible, it defies public opinion. Ninety-eight percent of the record-breaking 2.8 million public comments to the Interior Department asked the federal government to maintain or expand protections for the national monuments under review.

Garrett Garner-Wells, Environment Colorado state director made the following statement:

“Millions of Americans have enjoyed majestic vistas, camped under starlit skies, viewed abundant wildlife or simply gone for a walk or boat ride in our national monuments. And we hope that millions more get the chance to do so. It would be unwise and unpopular for President Trump to end protections for these treasured lands and marine ecosystems and open them to mining, drilling, logging and overfishing. Doing so would ravage pristine places, endanger wildlife and jeopardize scientific and archeological history, including sacred Native American sites.

“Secretary Zinke’s recommendation foolishly elevates the fleeting value derived from extracting a little more oil or coal or timber or fish from these lands and waters, over the timeless value gained by preserving America’s most precious places for the wildlife and our children, our grandchildren and generations to come.

“Environment Colorado will continue to do all we can to protect these natural wonders.”

Secretary Zinke’s recommendations call for the following changes:

Change the boundaries of four monuments

Bears Ears National Monument, UT

Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument, UT

Cascade-Siskiyou National Monument, OR & CA

Gold Butte National Monument, NV

Change the uses, including allowing mining, drilling, logging or commercial fishing, of four monuments

Katahdin Woods and Waters National Monument, ME

Northeast Canyons and Seamounts National Monument, off the New England Coast

Organ Mountains-Desert Peaks National Monument, NM

Rio Grande del Norte National Monument, NM

Change the uses, including allowing commercial fishing, or change the boundaries of two monuments

Pacific Remote Islands National Monument

Rose Atoll National Monument

Read more about the national monuments at risk:


Environment Colorado is a statewide, citizen-based environmental advocacy organizations working for a cleaner, greener, healthier future.