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Craters of the Moon survives monument review

Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke has released his final report on his recommendations for national monument designations under the Antiquities Act.

After an 8-month review, the secretary recommended no modifications be made to Craters of the Moon National Monument.

The decision supported the recommendation of Idaho’s congressional delegation.

“I have long held that state Governors and Legislators should have substantial input in the monument review process, not bureaucrats who live on the banks of the Potomac,” said Senator Jim Risch. “I was pleased that DOI (Department of Interior) followed the delegation’s unanimous recommendation to make no modifications to Craters of the Moon.”

“Effective federal land management decisions require meaningful input from the local stakeholders that live, work and depend on those lands in order to foster both acceptable natural resource protections as well as resilient, self-sustaining economies in our rural communities,” said Senator Mike Crapo. “The Department of the Interior has made the right decision to honor the input and feedback from Idaho’s communities in not modifying Craters of the Moon.”

“I applaud the Department of the Interior for honoring the local consensus Idahoans have created with Craters of the Moon,” said Congressman Simpson. “I worked with a diverse group of stakeholders over ten years ago to ensure Craters reflects Idaho values and can be enjoyed by outdoor enthusiasts. I am grateful Idahoans voices were heard and that this review reflects our local solution.”

Zinke’s report also recommended beginning a process to consider three new national monuments. Those are the Badger II Medicine Area in Montana, Camp Nelson in Kentucky, and the Medgar Evers home in Mississippi.

As President Donald Trump announced Monday, the plan called for substantial reduction of the Bears Ears and Grand Staircase monuments in Utah, as well as the Cascade-Siskiyou Monument in Oregon and Gold Butte National Monument in Nevada.

According to Zinke, his report does not recommend a single acre of federal land be removed from the federal estate. He said that if land no longer falls within a monument boundary it will continue to be federal land and managed by whichever agency managed the land before designation.

“America has spoken and public land belongs to the people,” said Secretary Zinke. “As I visited the Monuments across this country, I met with Americans on all sides of the issue, from ranchers to conservationists to tribal leaders, and found that we agree on wanting to protect our heritage while still allowing public access to public land. My recommendations to the President reflect that, in some circumstances, proclamations should be amended, boundaries revised, and management plans updated.”

Zinke objected to charges the administration failed to consult tribal nations in making the Utah monument decisions. In a statement the Department of Interior said, “before traveling to Utah, the Secretary met with Tribal representatives in his office. On his first day in Utah in May, the Secretary met with the Bears Ears Inter-Tribal Coalition in Salt Lake City, for just under two hours. Throughout the four-day survey of the Utah monuments, the Secretary also met with local Tribal representatives who represent different sides of the debate.”

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