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Zinke Recommends No Eliminations, But Changes To Some Monuments

Bears Ears
U.S. Forest Service-
The land surrounding the twin buttes that make up Bears Ears is considered a place of healing, a sacred place to several tribes in the Southwest.

Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke says none of the 27 monuments under review should be eliminated but a “handful” should be changed.

Zinke has recommended to the president that the 1.35 million acre Bear’s Ears National Monument in southern Utah be reduced in size. Native American Rights Fund attorney Matt Campbell says Bear’s Ears is inextricably tied to Native history, culture and people.

“Bear’s Ears is one of the most important places for all of Indian Country,” Campbell said. “Five tribal nations came together to push for the Bear’s Ears National Monument. So any attack on Bear’s Ears to revoke or diminish it would be an attack on all of Indian Country and all of America.”

And Campbell said they plan to fight the decision in court. 

In April, President Trump ordered a review of the monuments responding to complaints that a century’s old law had been misused to create oversized monuments that stood in the way of energy development, logging and other uses. The Interior Department received 2.4 million public comments -- the majority in favor of protecting the monuments. 

Laurel Morales was a senior field correspondent at KJZZ from 2011 to 2020.