Interior Secretary Zinke recommends keeping Maine's national monument

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Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke has completed his review of national monuments, and will not recommend any of them be eliminate.

Zinke already announced a recommendation to shrink the size of one site under review, the 1.35 million-acre Bears Ears National Monument in Utah created by former President Barack Obama late past year.

Some critics of federal land ownership hope President Donald Trump will overrule his Interior secretary's recommendation and rescind recently created national monuments.

President Trump ordered the unprecedented review in April as part of an executive order he said was created to combat "the abusive practice" of turning lands already owned by the federal government into national monuments by giving them a higher level of protection from mining, logging and other extractive industries.

Whether or not President Trump will adopt these recommendations, or if/when the public will know the specifics of them, is yet to be seen. However, changes could be made to the scope or management of monuments, Zinke said.

"If there are recommendations that come down the pike that do anything more than keep the monuments as they are designated today, one would have to wonder where he actually got those recommendations, because it certainly wasn't from the American public", said Pamela Flick, California Representative with the Defenders of Wildlife.

Zinke on Thursday filed a draft report with the White House suggesting Trump shrink "a handful" of national monuments established by previous presidents.

He also said the Antiquities Act "unilaterally put millions of acres of land and water under strict federal control ... eliminating the ability of the people who actually live in those states to decide how best to use that land".

Mitchell spoke Thursday after Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke recommended retaining the national monuments under review.

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Noel is among those who want economic activity like timber harvesting and mineral production on land where it is not now allowed because of monument rules. "The public has spoken loudly and clearly to protect - and not alter or eliminate - national monuments", the lawmakers wrote.

In February, Trump signed an executive order directing Zinke to review all national monuments that were established since 1996 and are over 100,000 acres in size.

"Given our governor's position, it's going to be a stretch to make a recommendation that's going to be satisfying to him and still maintain the integrity of the monument and the wishes of the family that gifted the land", she said.

Zinke trekked to Bears Ears in May to tour the national monument and meet with stakeholders on both sides of the issue and a month later he issued interim recommendations.

Other opponents of the review criticized Zinke on Thursday. "Any effort to change national monument boundaries or reduce protections will be challenged".

San Gabriel Mountains National Monument, 346,000 acres of Forest Service land representing more than 70 percent of Los Angeles County's scarce open space and the source of 30 percent of its drinking water. Most presidents since then have designated additional monuments.

National outdoor retailer REI and other companies have also opposed changes to monuments.

Giant Sequoia National Monument, which protects 33 groves of ancient sequoias - some of the world's largest trees - over 328,000 acres in the Sierra Nevada west of Visalia. "They ignored Congress' requirement that monuments be the smallest area compatible with protecting antiquities, often also ignoring local input".

Communities, including Taos, Albuquerque, and Las Cruces, have held rallies and special events to raise awareness about the review and demonstrate to Zinke the strong widespread support the monuments enjoy.

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