After a four-month review, Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke said Thursday that he’s recommending no elimination of the 27 ocean and wilderness national monuments in the U.S., though there would be boundary adjustments for a “handful.”
Zinke told The Associated Press that unspecified boundary adjustments for some monuments designated over the past four decades will be included in the recommendations he planned to give President Donald Trump on Thursday. None of the sites would revert to new ownership, he said, while public access for uses such as hunting, fishing or grazing would be maintained or restored.
He also spoke of protecting tribal interests and historical land grants, pointing to monuments in New Mexico, where Hispanic ranchers have opposed two monuments proclaimed by President Barack Obama.
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.
There was no immediate comment from the White House.
With files from the Associated Press
Brian Calvert, editor-in-chief of High Country News in Colorado; he’s been following the story at a national level
Dan Hartinger, deputy director of the parks and public lands defense campaign at The Wilderness Society, a non-profit public land preservation advocacy group
Ileene Anderson, public lands deserts director and senior scientist for the Center for Biological Diversity
Amy Granat, managing director of the California Off-Road Vehicle Association