WASHINGTON – The prospect of a review of national monuments that could result in the diminishment of important cultural, historic and natural sites across the country would be an unprecedented assault on our public-lands legacy, the National Wildlife Federation said Monday.
Here is the National Wildlife Federation’s statement:
“Reports that the Trump administration will order a review of national monuments designated since 1996 to determine whether the monuments should be reduced are disturbing. The very things that make places like Bears Ears, Rio Grande del Norte, Papahānaumokuākea and Browns Canyon so special could be in jeopardy if important fish and wildlife habitat, archaeological treasures and waterways are carved out of the monuments and left unprotected.
“For more than a century, 16 presidents from both parties have used the Antiquities Act to set aside such national gems as the Statue of Liberty and the Grand Canyon, and Zion and Acadia national parks, which began as monuments. Rather than taking the legally questionable tack of outright repealing designations, the administration could turn instead to a death-by-a-thousands-cut approach, threatening the future of irreplaceable landscapes. This kind of review would be a huge undertaking for a staff working at full capacity, but the Interior Department is still in the process of filling positions.
“Eliminating or shrinking the 55 national monuments designated during the last 21 years would short-circuit the will of local residents, hunters, anglers, business owners and recreationists who campaigned, in some cases for decades, for these monument designations. Wildlife – from bighorn sheep to black bears to peregrine falcons to dolphins and whales – could face loss of habitat from development. The nation’s $646 billion outdoor recreation economy, so crucial to communities across the country, would be undermined. The most troubling fallout would be the beginning of the dismantling of our nation’s outdoor heritage, built over more than a century.”
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