National Monument Advocates: Rolling Back Protections Would Be 'Legally Suspect'

Aug 17, 2017
Originally published on August 16, 2017 6:05 pm

The fate of over two dozen national monuments on federal land will be determined in just over a week. Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke will present his recommendations to President Donald Trump on August 24. They’ll outline which national monuments should be left alone, which should be scaled back, or perhaps even scrapped altogether.

Trump called the monument areas "a massive federal land grab" by previous administrations.

Monument advocates say undermining protections present significant economic, cultural and environmental risks.

During a telephone press conference Wednesday, environmental groups and officials from California and New Mexico discussed the ramifications of rolling back protections for designated monuments. New Mexico Attorney General Hector Balderas vowed that, “any attempt to revoke the designations by the Trump administration would not only be legally suspect, but would be open and subject to court action." 

New Mexico has two of the 27 national monuments under review.

Secretary Zinke has said he’ll likely recommend leaving Montana’s Upper Missouri River Breaks national monument as is.

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