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Congress acts on monuments

Dept. of INTERIOR, Federal gov & land grabs, PRES. TRUMP, President Trump and officials

wlj, 05-15-2017 » Page 1

Western Livestock Journal.com

— Review of monuments created from 1996 begins

The Department of Interior has begun its review of national monuments designated under the Antiquities Act of 1906. On Friday, May 5, Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke released a list of 27 monuments designated or expanded since 1996 that he will be reviewing. He also announced the opening of the “first-ever” formal public comment period for those monuments.

The release follows an executive order by President Donald Trump in April, Order 13792, which directs the secretary to look at monuments designated or expanded after 1996 that were: a) 100,000 acres or more, or b) done “without adequate public outreach and coordination with relevant stakeholders.”

Among other considerations, the president’s order directs Zinke to determine whether the monuments meet the requirements and original objectives of the Antiquities Act, including the act’s requirement that reservations of land not exceed “the smallest area compatible with the proper care and management of the objects to be protected.” He is also directed to consider the effects of the designation on multiple-use activities, as well as the concerns of affected state, local and tribal governments.

As part of the review, the secretary is to come up with recommendations for action—either by the president or by Congress.

As for the public comment period being opened for the 27 monuments, Zinke recognized that a comment period is not required by law for monument designations, which have typically been created unilaterally by standing presidents. However, Zinke and President Trump “both strongly believe that local input is a critical compo nent of federal land management,” says Zinke’s announcement.

The monuments now subject to comment include, in alphabetical order by state: Arizona’s Grand Canyon-Parashant, Ironwood Forest, Sonoran Desert and Vermilion Cliffs; California’s Berryessa Snow Mountain, Carrizo Plain, Cascade-Siskiyou (also in Oregon), Giant Sequoia, Mojave Trails, Sand to Snow and San Gabriel Mountains; Colorado’s Canyons of the Ancients; Idaho’s Craters of the Moon; Maine’s Katahdin Woods and Waters; Montana’s Upper Missouri River Breaks; Nevada’s Basin and Range, and Gold Butte; New Mexico’s Organ Mountains-Desert Peaks and Rio Grande del Norte; Utah’s Bear Ears and Grand Staircase-Escalante; and Washington’s Hanford Beach.

Five marine monuments are also under review. WLJ spoke with Ray Haupt, an elected supervisor from Siskiyou County, CA. Having formerly served as a U.S. Forest Service supervisor, he said it’s important that comments be “substantive.”

“For example, don’t just say, ‘I oppose the monument’,” he said. “You need to explain why, preferably in a way that shows direct impacts to you.”

Comments may be submitted at www.regulations.gov using the Docket ID DOI-2017-0002-0001, or by mail to: Monument Review, MS-1530, U.S. Department of the Interior, 1849 C Street NW, Washington, DC 20240. Comments regarding Utah’s Bear Ears Monument must be submitted by May 26. All others are due July 10.

Haupt said county governments will likely be focusing their comments largely on the economic and safety impacts of the designations. Many monuments prohibit or limit fuel-reducing actions such as logging and grazing, he said, two actions that are also important cultural and economic drivers in many rural areas.

He pointed to a November 2016 letter submitted by Siskiyou County to former- Interior Secretary Sally Jewell regarding the proposed expansion of the Cascade Siskiyou monument.

The letter states that proposed road closures could “severely hamper” activities such as firefighting and fire prevention; search-and-rescue efforts; recreation; and access to range allotments.

Despite the protests of all affected counties, former- President Barack Obama proceeded to expand the Cascade Siskiyou monument, originally designated by former President Bill Clinton in 2000.

Negative economic and cultural effects of special designations have been well documented. For example, according to 2013 congressional testimony by Public Lands Council’s (PLC) Dave Eliason, the Grand Staircase-Escalante monument designation has hit ranching particularly hard. After Clinton designated it in 1996, eight grazing allotments were fully or partially closed. This accounted for roughly 6,000 lost animal unit months (AUMs), Eliason said. More closures were being considered when he gave his testimony.

According to a Carbon County commissioner who also testified in the 2013 hearing, the designation also resulted in the lockingup of $2 billion-worth of mineral lease royalties, as well as 60 percent of Utah’s known coal reserves.

“This blatant political move [President Clinton’s designation] has subsequently devastated the economies of Kane and Garfield Counties and lifestyles of the people who live there,” testified Commissioner John Jones, “greatly damaged the reputation of my beloved Democratic party in rural Utah, and has demolished the Department of Interior’s credibility in a state in which they are the majority landowner.”

Some legislators on Capitol Hill are hoping to prevent the creation or expansion of future monuments that lack local support. Rep. Raúl Labrador (R-ID-1) introduced on May 2 the National Monument Designation Transparency and Accountability Act, H.R. 2284.

The bill would amend the Antiquities Act to require that both state and national-level legislation be enacted before a monument may be designated. It also calls for designations to be preceded by the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) process, including environmental and economic analysis; local government coordination; and formal public comment.

Labrador’s bill is a companion bill to S. 132, introduced by Sen. Mike Crapo (R-ID) in January. A similar bill, S. 33, was also introduced in January by Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-AK).

“I commend President Trump for highlighting excessive presidential power that ignores the states and the people closest to the land,” Labrador said in a press release. “But we must change the law to achieve lasting reform. My bill requires public input and approval by lawmakers in the states and in Congress before putting more of our lands off limits.” — Theodora Johnson, WLJ correspondent

In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. section 107, any copyrighted material herein is distributed without profit or payment to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving this information for non-profit research and educational purposes only. For more information go to: http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/17/107.shtml

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Trump orders review of monuments—

Bureau of Land Management, cattle, Dept. of INTERIOR, PRES. TRUMP

May 1, 2017

Western Livestock Journal

Power returning to states with report due in 120 days

“Today I’m signing a new executive order to end another egregious abuse of federal power and to give that power back to the states and to the people, where it belongs.”

These were the words of President Donald Trump on April 26 as he prepared to sign the “Presidential executive order on the review of designations under the Antiquities Act.” Flanked by Vice

President Mike Pence and Secretary of Interior Ryan Zinke, he made his remarks before a gathering of senators, representatives and governors representing rural America.

“The previous administration used a 100-year-old law known as the Antiquities Act to unilaterally put millions of acres of land and water under strict federal control—have you heard about that?—eliminating the ability of the people who actually live in those states to decide how best to use that land,” Trump continued.

“Today, we are putting the states back in charge. It’s a big thing.”

He specifically mentioned former President Barack Obama’s designation of the Bear Ears National Monument in December of last year. That 1.35-millionacre designation was done in spite of “the profound objections of the citizens of Utah,” Trump said.

Order details

The executive order consists of two sections. Section 1 explains that “designations that result from a lack of public outreach and proper coordination with state, tribal, and local officials and other relevant stakeholders” can “create barriers to achieving energy independence, restrict public access to and use of federal lands, burden state, tribal, and local governments, and otherwise curtail economic growth.”

“Designations should be made in accordance with the requirements and original objectives of the Act,” it states, “and appropriately balance the protection of landmarks, structures, and objects against the appropriate use of federal lands and the effects on surrounding lands and communities.”

Section 2 calls upon Zinke to perform a review of every monument designated since 1996 that covers more than 100,000 acres or that was made or expanded “without adequate public outreach and coordination with relevant stakeholders…” The order directs the secretary to consider the following points:

  • The requirements and original objectives of the Act, including the Act’s requirement that reservations of land not exceed “the smallest area compatible with the proper care and management of the objects to be protected;”

  • Whether designated lands are appropriately classified under the Act as “historic landmarks, historic and prehistoric structures, [or] other objects of historic or scientific interest;”

  • The effects of a designation on the available uses of designated federal lands, including consideration of the multiple-use policy of … the Federal Land Policy and Management Act …, as well as the effects on the available uses of federal lands beyond the monument boundaries;

  • The effects of a designation on the use and enjoyment of non-federal lands within or beyond monument boundaries;

  • Concerns of state, tribal, and local governments affected by a designation including the economic development and fiscal condition of affected states, tribes, and localities;

  • The availability of federal resources to properly manage designated areas; and

  • Such other factors as the secretary deems appropriate.

The order goes on to direct Zinke to consult and coordinate with the governors and local officials of the affected states and localities.

Within 120 days of the order (late August), Zinke is to provide the president a final report summarizing the findings of his review. The report is to include “recommendations for such presidential actions, legislative proposals, or other actions consistent with law as the secretary may consider appropriate…”

An “interim report” will be provided to the president within 45 days, or in mid- June.

Livestock industry support

The order has been hailed by groups such as PLC (Public Lands Council) and NCBA (National Cattlemen’s Beef Association), which issued a press release stating that the Obama administration alone “[locked] up 256 million acres of land and water in 30 separate designations.”

The groups pointed to two specific monuments that could be affected by the order. One was the 1.9-millionacre Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument in Utah, designated by President Bill Clinton in 1996. Livestock grazing on the monument has since been reduced from 106,000 Animal Unit Months (AUMs) to just 35,000 AUMs, according to PLC and NCBA.

The groups also mentioned the Cascade-Siskiyou National Monument, located in Oregon and Northern California. It was initially created by Clinton and amounted to 53,000 acres—until Obama expanded it by another 48,000 acres in his final weeks in office.

“This expansion will effectively prohibit logging on approximately 35,000 acres, adding to the risk of wildfire as fuel loads increase, and negatively affecting the economy of multiple counties within the monument,” the groups asserted. It has also had negative impacts on grazing.

PLC and NCBA added that, while the order is an important first step, Congress must act to bring the Antiquities Act back to its original intent. They pointed specifically to a bill introduced by Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-AK), S. 33, the Improved National Monument Designation Process Act. It would require congressional approval of new designations.

Words from Zinke

Zinke issued a press release following the President’s signing.

“Part of being a good steward is being a good neighbor and being a good listener,” he said. “In the Trump administration, we listen and then we act. For years, the people of Utah and other rural communities have voiced concern and opposition to some monument designations. But too often in recent history, exiting presidents make designations despite those concerns.”

Under Trump’s leadership, Zinke promised, he will work with local, state and tribal governments to review monument designations made over the past 20 years and “make sure they work for the local communities.”

— Theodora Johnson, WLJ Correspondent 

In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. section 107, any copyrighted material herein is distributed without profit or payment to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving this information for non-profit research and educational purposes only. For more information go to: http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/17/107.shtml

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Court overturns restraining order on Mexican wolf releases

Dept. of INTERIOR, Wolves

May 1, 2017

Western Livestock Journal, page 16

The 10th Circuit Court of Appeals has reversed a lower court’s temporary restraining order that was preventing the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) from releasing Mexican wolves in New Mexico without the state’s permission. As of the appellate court’s ruling on April 25, the federal government is free to continue releasing captivebred Mexican gray wolves in New Mexico—for now.

But the federal-statebalance argument over the struggling wolf program is far from over. The ruling is just one step in an ongoing case filed last June by the New Mexico Department of Game and Fish (NMDGF) against USFWS. The NMDGF is challenging USFWS’ authority to release the wolves, which are considered “endangered” under the Endangered Species Act (ESA), without obtaining the state-required permits to do so.

“New Mexico state law continues to prohibit the release of imported animals in the state,” said Lance Cherry, a NMDGF spokesman, in an email to WLJ, “and federal law requires that the federal government comply with state permit requirements prior to releasing wildlife.”

He said New Mexico’s case will continue to move forward. Additional details about the challenge can be found in a September 2016 written statement from the NMDGF Director Alexandra Sandoval to the U.S. House Natural Resources Committee.

“[W]hile no one single factor is to blame for the lack of success recovering the Mexican wolf,” wrote Sandoval, “one factor looms larger than others, the [USFWS’] failure to cooperate with the states.”

Notably, the NMDGF’s challenge is being supported by eight amicus curiae briefs, including one filed by 18 states. The New Mexico Cattle Growers’ Association (NMCGA) and the New Mexico Farm and Livestock Bureau are also supporting it.

Hoping for change

WLJ spoke to Caren Cowan, executive director of the NMCGA. She was hopeful that the new administration will “take a hard look” at the Mexican wolf program. She said that despite their relatively low numbers (last count was 113 in the wild) the wolves have been a source of hardship for the ranching community.

Indeed, back in July 2016 the Department of the Interior’s Office of the Inspector General released a report concluding that in New Mexico, USFWS was mishandling nuisance wolves and stonewalling ranchers’ attempts at acquiring compensation for depredated livestock.

Compared to past administrations, President Donald Trump’s administration could be a different animal when it comes to wolves. Secretary of Interior Ryan Zinke, a former congressman for Montana, is on record as having voted multiple times to delist the Northern Rocky Mountain gray wolf.

More moving parts

Cowan said the 10th Circuit ruling was just one of many moving parts regarding the wolf. For example, after speaking to WLJ she was about to walk into a court hearing regarding the wolf’s “experimental population status,” which will affect the size and location of “wolf zones” and ranchers’ ability to deal with problem wolves.

Additionally, she said she “has it on good authority” that USFWS could be releasing a recovery plan in the next 60 days. The lack of a recovery plan has been another source of litigation, and last year a federal judge ordered USFWS to come up with a plan by the end of November 2017.

While Cowan was skeptical that the recovery plan would be palatable to the livestock industry or the states, she did acknowledge that a recovery plan is necessary.

“We need a population goal before we can get these wolves delisted,” she told WLJ. “Until then, there’s no limit to how much they can multiply—and still have ESA protections that make it hard, if not impossible, to live with them.”

Sandoval’s statement to Congress echoed the need for a recovery goal. “Given the lack of current measurable and objective recovery criteria, New Mexico remains in the dark about important recovery questions—how many wolves constitute a recovered population and where these wolves will occur. Forty years into the program, New Mexico should not be as in the dark on these issues as it is.”

— Theodora Johnson, WLJ Correspondent

In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. section 107, any copyrighted material herein is distributed without profit or payment to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving this information for non-profit research and educational purposes only. For more information go to: http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/17/107.shtml

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Trump signs executive order aimed at expanding drilling in Arctic, Atlantic oceans

Dept. of INTERIOR, PRES. TRUMP, President Trump and officials

President Trump signed an executive order Friday that could lead to the expansion of drilling in the Arctic and Atlantic oceans, saying it will reverse his predecessor’s Arctic leasing ban and create “great jobs and great wealth” for the country.

Trump said the executive order, titled “Implementing an America-First Offshore Energy Strategy,” will direct a “review of the locations available for off-shore oil and gas exploration” and related regulations.

“Today we’re unleashing American energy and clearing the way for thousands and thousands of high-paying American energy jobs,” Trump said in his announcement.

“Our country is blessed with incredible natural resources, including abundant offshore oil and natural gas reserves,” he said. “But the federal government has kept 94 percent of these offshore areas closed for exploration and production.”

“This deprives our country of potentially thousands and thousands of jobs and billions of dollars in wealth,” Trump said.

Trump, with the order, is directing his interior secretary to review an Obama-era plan that dictates which locations are open to offshore drilling, with the goal of the new administration to expand operations.

The announcement Friday is part of Trump’s promise to unleash the nation’s energy reserves in an effort to reduce reliance on foreign oil and to spur jobs, regardless of fierce opposition from environmental activists who say offshore drilling harms whales, walruses and other wildlife and exacerbates global warming.

The executive order will reverse part of a December effort by President Obama to deem the bulk of U.S.-owned waters in the Arctic Ocean and certain areas in the Atlantic as indefinitely off limits to oil and gas leasing.

It will also direct Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke to conduct a review of the locations available for offshore drilling under a five-year plan signed by Obama in November.

The plan blocked new oil and gas drilling in the Atlantic and Arctic oceans. It also blocked the planned sale of new oil and gas drilling rights in the Chukchi and Beaufort seas north of Alaska, but allowed drilling to go forward in Alaska’s Cook Inlet southwest of Anchorage.

Trump’s order could open to oil and gas exploration areas off Virginia and North and South Carolina, where drilling has been blocked for decades.

“This executive order starts the process of opening offshore areas to job creating energy exploration,” Trump said. “It reverses the previous administration’s Arctic leasing ban and directs Secretary Zinke to allow responsible development of offshore areas that will bring revenue to our Treasury and jobs to our workers.”

The president also said it will allow for Zinke to reconsider “burdensome regulations” that Trump said “slow job creation.”

The Associated Press contributed to this report. 

http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2017/04/28/trump-signs-executive-order-aimed-at-expanding-drilling-in-arctic-atlantic-oceans.html

In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. section 107, any copyrighted material herein is distributed without profit or payment to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving this information for non-profit research and educational purposes only. For more information go to: http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/17/107.shtml

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New interior secretary brings renewed hope for a road out of King Cove

Dept. of INTERIOR

Alaska news

April 27, 2017

Author:

WASHINGTON — For decades, Alaskans living on the Alaska Peninsula have been intermittently traveling to Washington, D.C., to talk to the federal government about a small, local road project.

This year, they are cautiously optimistic that the road might happen, under the guiding force of the new Trump administration.

Residents of King Cove want to build an 11-mile road through the Izembek National Wildlife Refuge to the huge, World War II-era airport in Cold Bay. They say they’ve exhausted other options: Lives are at risk — rough weather that prevents flying out of King Cove means costly and time-sensitive air extractions are required for sick and hurt residents. And they say that the people of King Cove, especially Natives, should have the right to cross the land.

Most recently, the Obama administration said no to a road through the refuge. Then-Interior Secretary Sally Jewell cited concerns about the environmentally sensitive area and the birds that migrate to the refuge, situated in the remote patch of earth where the North Pacific Ocean meets the Bering Sea.

But President Donald Trump’s interior secretary, Ryan Zinke, is inclined to consider a new approach.

“Given the significant interest of the King Cove community, the department is reviewing the issues there and determining its best ability to address them,” said Heather Swift, spokeswoman for the Interior Department. She noted Zinke’s “priority” interest in “state and local input.”

So now the Izembek road advocates are trying several avenues for a do-over: pushing legislation through the all-Republican Congress and getting Zinke to make the change himself.

MORE

https://www.adn.com/alaska-news/2017/04/27/new-interior-secretary-brings-renewed-hope-for-a-road-out-of-king-cove/

In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. section 107, any copyrighted material herein is distributed without profit or payment to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving this information for non-profit research and educational purposes only. For more information go to: http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/17/107.shtml

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Trump Executive Order on National Monuments Aims to Give Federal Land Back to The American People

Dept. of INTERIOR, President Trump and officials

Town Hall.com

Katie Pavlich

Posted: Apr 26, 2017

Speaking from the Interior Department Wednesday, President Donald Trump signed an executive order calling for the review of wide swaths of federal land previously designated as National Monuments. The monuments, declared by past administrations and most recently by President Obama, fall under the Antiquities Act.

“Today I’m signing another executive order to end an egregious abuse of executive power and give that power back to the states and the people where it belongs,” Trump said. “The Antiquities Act does not give the federal government unlimited power.”

“The previous administration used a 100-year-old law known as the Antiquities Act to unilaterally put millions of acres of land and water under strict federal control — have you heard about that? — eliminating the ability of the people who actually live in those states to decide how best to use that land,” Trump continued. “Altogether, the previous administration bypassed the states to place over 265 million acres — that’s a lot of land … and water under federal control through the abuse of the monuments designation.””This executive order does not remove any monuments and this executive order does not weaken any environmental protections,” Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke said before Trump’s remarks.

The Antiquities Act is also under review and has been abused for decades by environmentalist groups to cut off federal land use by the American people.

“The Antiquities Act is a century-old law that has been hijacked by executive overreach in recent years. While designating monuments is a noble goal, this law, like many others, has strayed far from its original purpose,” House Speaker Paul Ryan said in response to the review. “Presidents have used the law to lock up thousands of acres of lands and water with the stroke of a pen, disregarding the needs and concerns of local communities. I comment the Trump administration for stopping this cycle of executive abuse and beginning a review of post designation.”

https://townhall.com/tipsheet/katiepavlich/2017/04/26/trump-executive-order-gives-federal-land-back-to-the-people-n2318570

In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. section 107, any copyrighted material herein is distributed without profit or payment to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving this information for non-profit research and educational purposes only. For more information go to: http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/17/107.shtml

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Secretary Zinke Appoints Skipwith and MacGregor to key Interior posts

Dept. of INTERIOR

PNP comment: Do not know if this is good or not. Guess we need to do some background research. — Editor Liz Bowen

Press Release from DOI

April 6, 2017

WASHINGTON – Today, U.S. Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke announced the appointment of two Deputy Assistant Secretaries to serve as leaders at the Department and help carry out the President’s priorities to put America first. Aurelia Skipwith will serve as Deputy Assistant Secretary for Fish, Wildlife and Parks and former House Natural Resources senior staffer Katharine MacGregor will serve as a Deputy Assistant Secretary for Land and Minerals Management.

“I’m excited to appoint two women of extremely high caliber to help lead the Department of the Interior into the next century of service for the American people,” said Secretary Zinke. “Ms. Skipwith and Ms. MacGregor bring with them decades of experience on natural resources, wildlife, agricultural, and legal matters. I have no doubt they will help shape and strengthen the Department and allow us to better serve the American people as we manage and conserve our land and resources.”

Aurelia Skipwith will serve as a Deputy Assistant Secretary for Fish, Wildlife and Parks. In that role, Skipwith will assist in the development and implementation of the Administration’s policy objectives on matters relating to our public lands and wildlife. Skipwith brings with her years of national and international experience in both the public and private sectors and nonprofits. Skipwith is graduate of Howard University and earned a J.D. from the University of Kentucky. She is a licensed member of the Kentucky Bar.

Katharine MacGregor will serve as a Deputy Assistant Secretary for Land and Minerals Management. MacGregor will advise the Assistant Secretary and Secretary on energy development and public land use. Before joining the Department, MacGregor was a senior staff member of the Subcommittee on Energy and Mineral Resources of the House Natural Resources Committee. Prior to that, MacGregor served as the Legislative Director for then-Majority Leader Eric Cantor. She is a graduate of the University of Pennsylvania with a Bachelor of Arts and Sciences.

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Zinke: Interior Department in the ‘energy business’

Dept. of INTERIOR
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Former Navy SEAL Rep. Zinke takes up Secretary of Interior

Dept. of INTERIOR

Western Livestock Journal

March 6, 2017

It’s official: Montana Congressman and former Navy SEAL Ryan Zinke will serve a tour as U.S. Secretary of Interior. On March 1, the Senate confirmed him on a vote of 68-31. The yeas included 16 Democrats.

Zinke will oversee Bureau of Land Management (BLM); U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS); National Park Service; Bureau of Reclamation; Bureau of Indian Affairs; and others.

Livestock groups including Public Lands Council, National Cattlemen’s Beef Association and Montana Stockgrowers Association have expressed strong support for Zinke’s confirmation.

“Secretary Zinke is from the West and understands the unique challenges faced by communities with a large federal footprint,” said PLC President Dave Eliason. “We look forward to working with him and his staff at the Department of the Interior to restore the role of local input in planning and review processes, fix laws like the Endangered Species Act, and protect grazing rights that are so critical to western economies.”

On the issues

WLJ took a look at some of Zinke’s actions in Congress, as well as his confirmation testimony before the Senate in January. The following are his positions on some of the issues.

Multiple use: At his confirmation hearing, Zinke identified himself as an “unapologetic admirer of Teddy Roosevelt,” saying he supports multiple uses on the majority of public lands, except in special areas where wilderness protections are appropriate.

National monuments should have state and local support, he said. He voiced willingness to take a look at existing monuments and give the president recommendations as to their appropriateness.

He noted federal lands are important to national and local economies, places to “harvest timber, mine, and provide our nation with critical energy.” As an avid hunter, he also said he is “particularly concerned with public access.”

In 2015, he took part in the drafting of the Housepassed Resilient Federal Forests Act of 2015 (HR 2647), which, if enacted, would have encouraged local collaboration on timber projects and curbed environmental lawsuits by requiring litigious groups to post bond.

Energy independence is paramount, he stated in his testimony, especially given that other countries may not use the same environmental standards we do in harnessing energy sources. He said he’s a firm believer in the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA).

Transfer of federal lands:

In his testimony, Zinke stated, “I am absolutely against transfer or sale of public land.” He also said he supports full and permanent funding for the Land and Water Conservation Fund, a fund that can be used by the federal government to purchase land.

Climate change: “The climate is changing,” Zinke testified. “That’s undisputable.” He also said “man has had an influence.” However, he said, there is debate as to “what that influence is, and what can we do about it…” He said we should be “prudent” about how we move forward to address climate change.

Endangered Species: Although WLJ was not able to find direct statements from Zinke about the Endangered Species Act, he has been criticized by environmental groups for casting “at least 21 votes against endangered species protection…” According to a letter signed by 170 groups in February, Zinke has voted “to remove endangered species protections for the gray wolf and to prevent protection for greater sage-grouse, lesser prairie chicken and northern long-eared bats.”

Sage grouse: Zinke was a vocal opponent of the BLM’s plans to federally manage sage-grouse populations in western states. In May of 2015, he released a statement:

“Once again the Obama administration is undermining the authority of sovereign states to manage our own land, resources, and wildlife with one of their signature ‘Washington knows best’ plans,” he said. “… I support a state-based plan that gives local stakeholders a seat at the table.”

Montana Stockgrowers has called him a “great advocate for Montana” regarding issues such as bison, sage-grouse, and federal grazing permits.

WLJ will keep readers apprized as Secretary Zinke goes about hiring directors for BLM, USFWS and other relevant agencies under his purview. — Theodora Johnson, WLJ Correspondent

In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. section 107, any copyrighted material herein is distributed without profit or payment to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving this information for non-profit research and educational purposes only. For more information go to: http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/17/107.shtml

 

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Republicans in Maine, Utah want Trump to undo monuments

Dept. of INTERIOR, Federal gov & land grabs, President Trump and officials

Published March 06, 2017

Republican leaders in Maine and Utah are asking President Donald Trump to step into uncharted territory and rescind national monument designations made by his predecessor.

The Antiquities Act of 1906 doesn’t give the president power to undo a designation, and no president has ever taken such a step. But Trump isn’t like other presidents.

Former President Barack Obama used his power under the act to permanently preserve more land and water using national monument designations than any other president. The land is generally off limits to timber harvesting, mining and pipelines, and commercial development.

Obama created the Katahdin Woods and Waters National Monument in Maine last summer on 87,500 acres of donated forestland. The expanse includes part of the Penobscot River and stunning views of Mount Katahdin, Maine’s tallest mountain. In Utah, the former president created Bears Ears National Monument on 1.3 million acres of land that’s sacred to Native Americans and is home to tens of thousands of archaeological sites, including ancient cliff dwellings.

Trump’s staff is now reviewing those decisions by the Obama administration to determine economic impacts, whether the law was followed and whether there was appropriate consultation with local officials, the White House told The Associated Press.

Maine Republican Gov. Paul LePage is opposed to the designation, and says federal ownership could stymie industrial development; and Republican leaders in Utah contend the monument designation adds another layer of unnecessary federal control in a state where there’s already heavy federal ownership.

The Utah Legislature approved a resolution signed by the governor calling on Trump to rescind the monument there. In Maine, LePage asked the president last week to intervene.

Newly sworn-in Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke has said he’ll fight the sale or transfer of public lands. But he also believes states should be able to weigh in. The National Parks Conservation Association has vowed to sue if Trump, the Interior Department or Congress tries to remove the special designations.

“Wherever the attack comes from, we’re ready to fight, and we know the public is ready to fight if someone comes after our national parks and monuments,” National Parks Conversation Association spokeswoman Kristen Brengel said.

In Maine, the prospect of undoing the designation is further complicated by deed stipulations requiring the National Park Service to control the land and a $40 million endowment to support the monument, said Lucas St. Clair, son of Burt’s Bees co-founder Roxanne Quimby, who acquired the land.

http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2017/03/06/republicans-in-maine-utah-want-trump-to-undo-monuments.html

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