Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke on Thursday, Aug. 25, issued a report to President Trump containing recommendations on possibly shrinking recently designated national monuments. The contents of the report have not been released, though a Zinke statement indicates some protections will be removed, in opposition to the lion’s share of public input.

Below is a statement from Howie Dash, Sierra Club Southern New Mexico Group’s outings leader, in reaction to the news:

“A whopping 99% of the 2.7 million public comments asked the Interior Department to keep these special places intact. It’s clear what the communities surrounding Organ Mountains Desert Peaks and Rio Grande del Norte want. His vague statement makes clear that Secretary Zinke doesn’t care.

“Why won’t Secretary Zinke say what’s in his report? Are his recommendations so unpopular that he can’t make them public?

“The current monument designations protect our public land for use by all of us — hikers, sportspeople, ranchers, veterans and so many others. The Trump administration’s actions would expose them to fossil-fuel executives — risking irreversible damage to places that hold centuries of history, culture and benefits.”

 Contact riogrande.chapter@sierraclub.org for how you can help make a difference on this issue.

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