Date: December 5, 2017
WASHINGTON – Today, in accordance with President Donald J. Trump’s April 26, 2017, Executive Order (EO), U.S. Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke released the final report outlining recommendations he made to the President on some national monument designations under the Antiquities Act.
Recommendations Secretary Zinke made in the final report included the following:
“America has spoken and public land belongs to the people,” said Secretary Zinke. “As I visited the Monuments across this country, I met with Americans on all sides of the issue -- from ranchers to conservationists to tribal leaders -- and found that we agree on wanting to protect our heritage while still allowing public access to public land. My recommendations to the President reflect that, in some circumstances, proclamations should be amended, boundaries revised, and management plans updated.”
FACT VS FICTION: Antiquities Act and Monument Review
Myth: No president has shrunk a monument.
False: Monuments have been reduced at least eighteen times under presidents on both sides of the aisle. Some examples include President John F. Kennedy excluding Bandelier National Monument, Presidents Taft, Wilson, and Coolidge reducing Mount Olympus National Monument, and President Eisenhower reducing the Great Sand Dunes National Monument in Colorado.
Myth: The monument review will sell/transfer public lands to states.
False: This is not true. The Secretary adamantly opposes the wholesale sale or transfer of public lands. The Antiquities Act only allows federal land to be reserved as a national monument. Therefore, if any monument is reduced, the land would remain federally owned and would be managed by the appropriate federal land management agency, such as the BLM, U.S. Forest Service, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, or the National Park Service (NPS).
Myth: Removing the monument designation from land will leave Native American artifacts and paleontological objects subject to looting or desecration.
False: This is not true. Whether these resources are found on land designated as a monument, national forest, BLM- managed public land, or other federal land, it is generally illegal to remove or disrupt these resources without a permit issued by the federal government.
Myth: The monument review will close/sell/transfer national parks.
False: No national parks are under review.
Myth: The review was done without meeting advocates for national monuments.
False: The Secretary visited eight monuments in six states and personally hosted more than 60 meetings attended by hundreds of local stakeholders. Attendees included individuals and organizations representing all sides of the debate ranging from environmental organizations like the Wilderness Society and the Nature Conservancy to county commissioners and, residents, and ranchers who prefer multiple use of the land.
Myth: Tribal Nations were not consulted.
False: This is patently false. Before traveling to Utah, the Secretary met with Tribal representatives in his office. On his first day in Utah in May, the Secretary met with the Bears Ears Inter-Tribal Coalition in Salt Lake City, for just under two hours. Throughout the four-day survey of the Utah monuments, the Secretary also met with local Tribal representatives who represent different sides of the debate. The Secretary also met with Tribal representatives for their input on several other monuments from Maine to New Mexico to Oregon and everywhere in between. Additionally, the Department hosted several Tribal listening sessions at the Department and across the country, including a four hour session with the Acting Deputy Secretary on May 30th.