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Now's Your Opportunity To Take A Stand On National Monuments From Bears Ears To Katahdin Woods

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Comments now are being taken on the future of Bears Ears National Monument and 26 other monuments in the country/BLM

When he arrived in Utah earlier this week, Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke said it didn't matter where you live, whether in Boston, Massachusetts, or Blanding, Utah, you had an equal voice in how public lands, particularly national monuments, are managed. Beginning today, you can add your voice and thoughts to that issue.

The comment period on the validity and worth of 27 national monuments, from Bears Ears in Utah to Katahdin Woods and Waters in Maine, opened this morning on regulations.gov. President Trump called for the Interior Department to review national monuments of 100,000 acres or more created since 1996, when President Clinton designated 1.9-million-acre Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument in southern Utah over the protests of Utah's congressional delegation.

While Katahdin Woods and Waters isn't quite 100,000 acres, it was added to the list, presumably, because Maine Gov. Paul LePage personally asked the president to consider whether Maine residents had enough input on whether the 87,000 acres adjacent to Baxter State Park should have been designated by President Obama last year. The twist in this instance, however, is that the monument was established only after Roxanne Quimby, who made her fortunate on Burt's Bees, donated 87,000 acres to the Interior Department specifically so Katahdin Woods and Waters could be created. Were the president or Congress somehow able to abolish that monument, who would own the land?

On Sunday when he met with reporters in Salt Lake City, the Interior secretary said that while he wanted to hear the views of "local stakeholders" on the 1.3-million-acre Bears Ears National Monument, he added that their voices should bear no more weight than those of Americans living elsewhere.

"Does a citizen from Massachusetts have any more standing from a citizen in Montana when it comes to our public lands? No. But everyone should have a voice, and a lot of what I face as secretary of Interior, there's a lot of anger out there. There's a lot of mistrust out there," said Secretary Zinke.

Just as those on the political right critized then-Interior Secretary Sally Jewell for her consideration and meetings over Bears Ears last summer, those on the political left have criticized Secretary Zinke for his meetings this week around Bears Ears and the Grand Staircase.

“It was amateur hour in Utah this week. Secretary Zinke’s one-sided listening tour amounted to little more than a series of staged photo ops with national monument opponents, while the loud pleas from the local monument supporters fell on deaf ears," said Greg Zimmerman, deputy director of the Center for Western Priorities. "Several times during his visit, Secretary Zinke indicated his mind is already made up— he wants to eliminate or shrink Bears Ears National Monument. Any action to undermine the Bears Ears, or any monument, will leave a dark stain on Secretary Zinke’s tenure at the Interior Department.”

In his order to Secretary Zinke, the president gave him 45 days from April 26 to report back on whether he thought Bear Ears should remain intact as President Obama established it under the Antiquities Act, or whether it was too big and should be reduced in size or even abolished. Then, by mid-summer, Mr. Zinke is to report back on the other 26 monuments identified for the review.

Public comment at regulations.gov is being taken on Bears Ears National Monument through May 25, and on all other monuments in the study through July 9.

While Secretary Zinke spent four days in Utah this week, and presumably will visit some or all of the other monuments on his list, there's been no word whether there will be hearings on the monuments elsewhere in the country. So if you live far from the monuments, this comment period might be the only chance you'll get to voice your opinion.

Comments

I support the designation and development of The Katahdin Woods and Waters as a National Monument/National Park. It makes economic sense for job creation. It would  provide all U.S. citizens the opportunity to enjoy the beauty of the American landscape, while at the same time contributing to the economic viablity of the area.


Please keep our parks for the enjoyment of natural spaces.  They are rare and wonderful treasures of our country.   They are invaluable to our wellbeing in an increasingly crowded and over developed world.  


It is UNCONSCIONABLE to come into a position at the Dept. of the Interior for a short period of time and try to dismantle the protection of ANY monuments or ANY part of a national park for the monetary benefit of a private corporation. They are protected for the benefit of all the American citizens and future generations and can NEVER be replaced. Once they are raped for oil, lumber and minerals for the profit of a few people, some of which are not even Americans, they can never be replaced. How could ANY decent human being not want their children and grandchildren to have these beautiful places?? WHO would want their name to go down in infamy as the person responsible for ruining these special, irreplaceable places?? 


Bear Ears and the other 26 national monuments should be left as they now are. They were designated for the preservation of these lands today and for our children and should remain so. 


We need to keep our public lands for all to enjoy and to keep private interests from destroying them for monetary gain. So much of the earth has already been destroyed in lieu of the almighty dollar. Let's keep these designated lands intact for present and future enjoyment. 


Please, please save and protect all National Parks and Monuments. They are important learning, family recreational and historically valuable sites. 


We absolutely unequivocally need every single acre that has been set aside for our national parks and monuments.  The Trump government should not cut any funding whatsoever that has already been set aside for public lands.  Furthermore, continued development and funding should be allowed.   


I've been to All The Monuments except Hawaii and the new Bears these are set aside the citizens of the United States not Corporations. take these designations away and it will be political suicide for the party involved.confiscate some Trump property and drill there.


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