U.S. Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke announced Thursday that Craters of the Moon National Monument in Idaho and Hanford Reach National Monument in Washington are no longer under review, and he will recommend that no modifications be made to them.
This announcement came right after the public comment period associated with President Trump’s executive order signed in April directing the Department of the Interior to review two decades’ worth of national monument and ocean reserve designations. The review is intended to determine whether the Trump Administration will attempt to rescind, modify or maintain existing protections. Specified on the Trump review list were 27 national monument and ocean reserves. After Thursday’s announcement about Craters of the Moon and Hanford reach, 25 sites remain.
The public review and comment period generated more than 2.5 million responses from across the nation. An early analysis of the comments finds overwhelming support for keeping and protecting America’s national monuments in tact or expanding current monuments boundaries. 98% were in support. Just 1% backed the idea of shrinking our monuments.
The Idaho Falls Post Register reported tremendous support for keeping Craters of the Moon National Monument and Preserve intact. Throughout the comment period, ICL members and supporters were quick to speak against this this shortsighted review, generating hundreds of comments over the 60-day period. Our offices were busy delivering comments from our members via forwarded emails, postcards hand-delivered to D.C., and written letters mailed to the Department of Interior.
This massive show of support from Idaho and from across the nation is a testimony to the importance of our public lands. We know we must maintain these treasures now but also for generations to come. These are the places we go with our friends and families to camp, fish, hike and explore. Many of us grew up knowing boundless access to our public lands and it is something that we can’t even fathom having taken away from us. But the time has come that we must speak out and stand up for our public places as they risk being undermined by myopic politics. We genuinely thank all those who spoke up during this monument review process. The fight is not over and we encourage each and every one of you to settle in and stay in this for the long haul. That is what is going to take to defend our public lands.
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