Key stories for understanding the monuments debate

Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke has advised Trump to modify 10 national monuments.

 

Note: We’re resurfacing this story to help contextualize the anticipated announcement by President Donald Trump on Dec. 4. He’s expected to shrink boundaries of Bears Ears National Monument and Grand Staircase-Escalante.

In a leaked memorandum obtained by the Washington Post, Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke has recommended that President Donald Trump modify 10 national monuments, including four controversial Western sites: Bears Ears, Grand Staircase-Escalante, Gold Butte and Cascade-Siskiyou.

Zinke also advised changes to marine monuments, but it is the four Western designations for which the secretary has specifically recommended reductions in the currently protected acreage. If enacted, the changes could test the legal boundaries of what powers a president holds under the 1906 Antiquities Act.

KEY STORIES FOR UNDERSTANDING THE RECOMMENDATION:

Legal scholars dispute whether monuments are permanent
Courts likely will decide the fate of designations threatened by Trump’s review.

Land transfer advocates steer their focus to monuments
A transfer movement moves to rescind monuments and weaken the Antiquities Act.

Opinion: It doesn’t make sense to go after national monuments
Trump’s review is cynical politics, not sound policy.

Analysis: National monuments protect meaning, not just landscapes
If Bears Ears shrinks, it will be to our national cultural detriment.

Amid monument review, a pro-energy Interior emerges
Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke is filling his office with extractive industry insiders.

Details emerge on proposed monument cutbacks
Zinke says he will recommend reductions to some monuments, but not eliminations.

Fact-checking Trump’s Antiquities Act order
Trump and his supporters rely on dubious claims to attack national monuments.

bearsears-jpg
Bears Ears National Monument
Bureau of Land Management

BEARS EARS NATIONAL MONUMENT
Bears Ears a go — but here’s where Obama drew the line
The designation’s concessions are unlikely to appease ardent opponents.

The bid for Bears Ears
The tribal push for a Bears Ears monument raises thorny questions of homeland and sovereignty.

Zinke went to Bears Ears to listen, but supporters felt unheard
The Interior Secretary’s monument review is off to a complicated start.


Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument
Bureau of Land Management

GRAND STAIRCASE-ESCALANTE NATIONAL MONUMENT

What could be lost in a push for mining in monuments 
In Grand Staircase-Escalante, coal and fossils lay side by side.

Grand Staircase-Escalante was set up to fail
How budget cuts, a divided staff and state politics hamstrung Utah’s biggest monument.

Change comes slowly to Escalante country
In the BLM’s showcase monument, local grudges and national politics create a nasty quagmire.

Utah’s Grand Staircase turns 5
Locals still wondering if the monument will provide an economic step up.

Cascade-Siskiyou National Monument
Bureau of Land Management

CASCADE-SISKIYOU NATIONAL MONUMENT
Opinion: Oregon’s monuments need protection from logging
Cascade-Siskiyou National Monument shouldn’t be managed for timber interests.

On a new national monument, has an agency been cowed?
Funding for studying grazing impacts in Oregon’s Cascade-Siskiyou National Monument has been cut, while grazing continues unabated.

Babbitt’s monument tour blazes on
Al Gore announces four new national monuments, while Republicans fight back.

Gold Butte National Monument
Bureau of Land Management

GOLD BUTTE NATIONAL MONUMENT
The many questions of Gold Butte
Familiar debates around roads, heritage and water rights resurface as Nevadans make sense of their new monument.

A look at Gold Butte, Nevada, two years after the Bundy standoff
Surveyors found illegal cattle grazing, defaced petroglyphs and ditch-digging.

Paige Blankenbuehler is an assistant editor for High Country News.

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