Interior secretary recommends shrinking Grand Staircase Escalante and Bears Ears

Local News

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah (ABC4 Utah) – Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke is recommending that two Utah monuments – Bears Ears and Grand Staircase Escalante – be reduced in size. The information comes from a leaked memo from Zinke to President Donald Trump.

In all, Zinke recommends that six of 27 national monuments under review by the Trump administration be reduced in size, with changes to several others proposed.

Nevada’s Gold Butte, Oregon’s Cascade-Siskiyou, and two marine monuments in the Pacific Ocean would also be reduced under Zinke’s memo, which has not been officially released. ABC News obtained a cope of the memo, which was first reported by the Wall Street Journal.

Trump ordered the review this year after stating that past presidents have used the century-old Antiquities Act improperly.

The monuments under review were designated by four presidents over the last two decades. Several are about the size of Delaware, including Grand Staircase Escalante and Bears Ears, which is on tribal sacred land.

No other president has tried to eliminate a monument, but some have trimmed and redrawn boundaries 18 times, according to the National Park Service.

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. It was not clear from the memo how much energy development would be allowed on the sites recommended for changes, although the memo cites increased public access as a key goal.

A spokeswoman for Zinke referred questions Sunday night to the White House, which did not offer immediate comment.

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