Zinke, Patagonia Trade Harsh Words Over National Monuments

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During a press call Tuesday Zinke released his final report out outlining recommendations he made to President Donald Trump following an Executive Order review of the National Monuments and the Antiquities Act.

Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument, designated in 1996 by President Bill Clinton, will be reduced from almost 1.9 million acres (nearly 3,000 square miles) to 1,003,863 acres (1,569 square miles). Some of the dinosaur fossils sit on a plateau that is home to one of the country's largest known coal reserves, which could now be open to mining.

The Wilderness Society, the Sierra Club, Natural Resources Defense Council and seven other groups alleged that the president overstepped his authority in scaling back the 1.4-million-acre Bears Ears to about 220,000 acres, and the 1.9-million-acre Grand Staircase-Escalante national monument to about 1 million acres. They say it only allows Presidents to CREATE national monuments, but does NOT authorize them to do away with national monuments.

The new page prompts visitors to take action with Patagonia as they "stand alongside over 350 businesses, conservation groups and Native American tribes that have come together on this issue to protect public lands".

The Hopi, Navajo, Ute Indian, Ute Mountain Ute, and Zuni nations filed a complaint against the Trump administration, - including U.S. Department of the Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke and the director of the Bureau of Land Management, Brian Steed - on Monday in U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia. The plans would break Bears Ears into two national monuments and Grand Staircase-Escalante into three separate monuments.

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"Some people think that the natural resources of Utah should be controlled by a small handful of very distant bureaucrats located in Washington".

Patagonia called the decision an "illegal move" by Trump, and said the company plans to sue the administration over the decision. "And guess what? They're wrong", Trump said when he announced his decision Monday.

Additional legal challenges were expected from environmental groups and outdoor clothing company Patagonia.

Grand Staircase-Escalante will be reduced from almost 1.9 million acres (nearly 3,000 square miles) to 1 million acres (1,569 square miles). Orrin G. Hatch and Gov. Gary R. Herbert. We've written about this for years, so forgive me if I'm overly brief, but Patagonia hits on the overwhelming public support for the monuments, the billions in consumer spending that makes outdoor rec a larger industry than oil and gas, and the states selling off their land to oil and gas drillers. Hatch and other state Republican leaders pushed Trump to launch the review, saying the monuments designated by the former Democratic presidents locked up too much federal land.

Mr Trump, for his part, justified his decision by returning to an old favorite: Washington overreach. No president has ever revoked and replaced a national monument before because it is not legal to do so.

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Patagonia has "always viewed public lands as our special interest, " said company spokeswoman Corley Kenna.

The legality of Trump's decision and of the ensuing lawsuits remains murky, as they center on the rarely used Antiquities Act signed into law by former President Teddy Roosevelt in 1906.

Navajo Nation Attorney General Ethel Branch says only Congress has the ability to downsize a monument. The law also states, however, that presidents should only choose the smallest amount of land possible, NPR reported.

The battle over Trump's authority to shrink monuments may be just beginning. His plan would allow logging at a newly designated monument in ME and more grazing, hunting and fishing at two sites in New Mexico.

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