Breaking: Interior Asks to Shrink National Monuments — Here’s What That Means

The Secretary of the Interior says he is asking the president to reduce the boundaries of a handful of recently created monuments, likely to set up a pitched legal battle.

Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke says he will recommend that none of the 27 national monuments under review be eliminated. But he told the Associated Press in Billings, Montana, that he will propose boundary readjustments to a “handful” of monuments.

The action will almost immediately trigger a legal challenge and political fight in Congress, where conservationists have been alarmed over the sweeping nature of Trump’s review and feared it would lead to substantial reductions in the size of large monuments in the West that were created to protect tribal artifacts, wildlife, and spectacular vistas.

Zinke already announced earlier in the summer that Bears Ears, the 3.5-million-acre landscape in southern Utah’s red-rock country, should be downsized, though he has not yet offered details as to how the boundaries should be redrawn.

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