Zinke seeks to keep intact Maine's Katahdin Woods & Waters


Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke on Tuesday recommended President Donald Trump reduce the size of more national monuments in the western United States, and he lashed out at critics of cuts already announced to protected areas in Utah. Within hours of Trump's announcement, at least 10 organizations, five Native American tribes and outdoor retailer Patagonia said they would challenge in court the president's authority to change the national monument boundaries. In it he recommended adding a few monuments while scaling back others.

Zinke released his full report Tuesday, which was previously leaked.

The Trump administration is facing lawsuits based on a recent order to shrink Bears Ears by 85 percent and Grand Staircase-Escalante by nearly 46 percent. He plans to downsize the Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument by almost half to 1,569 square miles, divided into three areas. "This is an example of a special interest", Zinke said Tuesday.

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Former President Barack Obama created the 296,937-acre Gold Butte in 2016.

Also on Zinke's list for new monuments is Camp Nelson. Much of the additional land is on private property, while some is on land previously designated for timber production, Zinke said.

Katahdin Woods and Waters was among 27 national monuments that Zinke reviewed earlier this year at the direction of President Trump.

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- Pacific Remote Islands, Pacific Ocean: Allow commercial fishing within the marine monument that covers almost 87,000 square miles (225,330 square kilometers) near Hawaii.

More than 98 percent of public comments submitted to the Department of the Interior this summer expressed support for maintaining or expanding national monuments, according to the Center for Western Priorities. There is now no timber harvesting on the monument lands other than for maintenance or to maintain scenic views. Evers organized boycotts over segregation during the civil rights movement.

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