Deadline looms in Secretary Zinke's review of Bears Ears and other monuments

The Salt Lake Tribune on YouTube: Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke tells Native woman to "be nice"

The new leader of the Department of the Interior is poised to make some huge decisions within his first six months in office.

Secretary Ryan Zinke is facing a June 10 deadline to make recommendations about the controversial Bears Ears National Monument. He traveled to Utah earlier this month to talk to tribal, local and state officials about the future of a 1.35 million-acre area that includes sacred sites and ancestral grounds.

“We do not want drilling and strip mining the lands,” James Adakai, a citizen of the Navajo Nation who chairs the Bears Ears Commission, which is supposed to have a role in the management of the new monument, told The Washington Post. “We want to preserve it for future generations.”

But Bears Ears isn't the only important place at issue. The Trump administration has asked for public comments on nearly two dozen other monuments, many of which have tribal support.

“The government still owes the tribal peoples,” Curtis Sandoval, the war chief for Taos Pueblo, told The Guardian in reference to the placement of the Rio Grande del Norte National Monument in New Mexico on the chopping block. “They have responsibilities they haven’t fulfilled.”

Comments on Bears Ears are due at the end of next week on May 26, according to a notice that was published in the Federal Register. Comments on the monuments are due by July 10.

President Donald Trump directed Zinke to review Bears Ears and other monuments in an executive order on April 26.

Read More on the Story:
As Zinke listens in on the monumental divide at Utah’s Bears Ears, natives feel unheard (The Washington Post 5/14)
Battle Over Bears Ears Heats Up as Trump Rethinks Its Monument Status (The New York Times 5/14)
'This is our land': New Mexico's tribal groups gear up to fight for their home (The Guardian 5/13)
Bears Ears in Crosshairs as Zinke Tours (Indian Country Media Network 5/12)
Linguist Robin Lakoff on Women, Men and American Talk (Bill Moyers 5/12)

An Opinion:
Editorial: Mr. Zinke, Keep Channeling Teddy Roosevelt (The New York Times 5/8)

Federal Register Notice:
Review of Certain National Monuments Established Since 1996; Notice of Opportunity for Public Comment (May 11, 2017)

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