Interior Secretary Nominee Supports Bigger Role for States in National Monument Designation

In Confirmation Hearing Interior Secretary Nominee Ryan Zinke Signals Incoming Administration Will Review Recent Massive Designations Made by President Obama

Thanks to all the ARRA members who tweeted Rep Zinke opposing massive National Monuments, and to all of you who have weighed in time and time again on this issue!

“I think a Monument, when it falls in a state, I think the state should have a say on it,” current Congressman from Montana, and the nominee for the Secretary of Interior said at his confirmation hearing on January 17. Throughout the four hour hearing Zinke reiterated that states and local stakeholders must be given a more meaningful say in the designation of lands that impact their lives and livelihoods. While this public support for a new path forward for Monument designations is not a surprise as Representative Zinke cosponsored legislation last session that would have required any President to garner local and state support before moving ahead with a Monument, it is a welcome first step to move away from land management by Presidential fiat.

Zinke also made clear to several Senators that he plans to visit areas recently designated as National Monuments by President Obama to determine what his recommendation will be to President Trump with regard to amending or eliminating the Monuments altogether. First up for Zinke will be a visit to Utah to review the recent designation of 1.3 million acres as the Bear’s Ears National Monument. The designation was made despite significant local opposition and opposition by the State’s entire Congressional delegation. “If confirmed, I’ve committed to go out to Utah first and talk to the governor, talk to the people who are on the ground and come back and make a recommendation to the President,” Zinke said.

Zinke made it clear that the President has the authority to amend designations, but also noted concerns that the revocation of a Monument would face legal challenges. “There’s no doubt the President has the authority to amend a Monument, it’s always in the papers. It will be interesting to see if the President has the power to nullify a monument,” said Zinke.

This issue is far from over, but we are seeing positive results from you actions and the efforts of our allies! You will hear from ARRA soon on additional opportunities to weigh in.

About ARRA

Americans for Responsible Recreational Access (ARRA) was formed to ensure that Americans are not arbitrarily denied the right to responsibly experience and enjoy the public lands that belong to the citizens of the United States. The members of ARRA, which include horseback riders, personal watercraft users, off-highway vehicle and snowmobile riders, and vacationing families, have joined together to provide input on decisions regarding land use designation, recreation opportunities, and preservation. Its members seek responsible consideration of competing activities, which are based on sound environmental principles.

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