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Status of NM’s National Monuments: Who Knows?

Status of NM’s National Monuments: Who Knows?

Robert Zinke's summary report was barely two pages and gave no details about what changes would be coming to 27 national monuments.

So will two of New Mexico’s national monuments be downsized, or open to oil and gas drilling? Who knows?

The long awaited summary report of Interior Secretary Robert Zinke that was released Thursday said, well, nothing. The so-called summary report that Zinke released to the public was barely two pages long and gave no details about what changes would be coming to 27 national monuments that the Donald Trump administration began reviewing in April.

The say-nothing summary sparked a response from U.S. Sen. Tom Udall who said it lacked transparency and that New Mexico’s two monuments that were under review the Organ Mountains-Desert Peaks and the Rio Grande Del Norte are still in danger.

“I am disappointed that the summary of Secretary Zinke’s recommendations to the president does not provide any real information to the public,” Udall said in a news release. “This summary is not transparent and this is not how our government should do business.”

“The threat to New Mexico’s monuments is very real. Secretary Zinke cited the Organ Mountains-Desert Peaks and Rio Grande Del Norte National Monuments to the press as monuments he may want to alter. So we will continue to press the administration hard to preserve all of our monuments and listen to the voices of thousands of New Mexicans who wrote in and personally met with Secretary Zinke to urge that he maintain protection for these areas.”

The Associated Press reported earlier Thursday that Zink had said that none of the monuments under review would be eliminated. But he told the AP that some would be downsized and opened to drilling.

Udall added: “If Secretary Zinke has recommended serious reductions to any of our national monuments, he has badly misjudged the authority granted to the administration under the Antiquities Act. I do not believe the administration can legally shrink any monument designation, and I intend to pursue all available avenues to fight what would be an unprecedented attack on our public lands.”

Secretary Zinke Sends Monument Report to the White House by ABQFreePress on Scribd

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Dennis Domrzalski is managing editor of ABQ Free Press. Reach him at dennis@freeabq.com.

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