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Conservation groups fear Utah's Bears Ears could lose much of its land

Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke rides a horse in the new Bears Ears National Monument near Blanding, Utah, May 9, 2017. Zinke on June 12 recommended that the new national monument in Utah be reduced in size and said Congress should step in to designate how selected areas of the 1.3-million-acre site are managed. Photo: Scott G Winterton/The Deseret News via AP
Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke rides a horse in the new Bears Ears National Monument near Blanding, Utah, May 9, 2017. Zinke on June 12 recommended that the new national monument in Utah be reduced in size and said Congress should step in to designate how selected areas of the 1.3-million-acre site are managed. Photo: Scott G Winterton/The Deseret News via AP

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah — Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke's proposal to downsize a huge national monument in Utah has received mixed reactions. 

It created optimism among opponents of 26 other monuments under review around the country. However, it brought fear among conservation groups. They worry that he will propose shrinking or rescinding other sites in his final report due in late August.

Along the New England coast, commercial fishermen were ecstatic. They welcomed last week's news about Zinke's proposed shrinking of the Bears Ears National Monument in Utah. They hope it is a predictor of a similar fate for a marine monument they oppose.

They are preparing to make a pitch for a full undoing of the designation when Zinke visits the area.

Is It A Conservation Move Or Control?

Opponents of other sites are making similar plans after the Bears Ears decision. They say the designations often close areas to oil, gas and mineral development along with other uses.

The proposal sets a guide for the review of all the monuments, said Beth Casoni. She is executive director of the Massachusetts Lobstermen's Association Inc. "Under the former administration, we questioned whether this is about conservation or just control," she said.

Conservation groups that were stung by Zinke's monument shrinking proposal are trying to rally public support to fully preserve the monuments. However, they know it might not be that simple. They expect they will have to resort to an extended legal fight if President Donald Trump eventually downsizes or eliminates monument designations.

They say the 1908 Antiquities Act allows presidents to create monuments but gives only Congress the power to change them.

"It's obvious the goal is to serve private interests over the public good," said Kristen Boyles. She is a staff lawyer with the environmental group Earthjustice.

Seeking Common Sense

Zinke is getting ready to visit the Katahdin Wood and Waters Monument in Maine. People there on both sides of the issue are studying his Bears Ears proposal.

Demar Dahl is an Elko County commissioner in Nevada. He said he expects Zinke will take the same shrink-but-not-rescind approach with two Nevada monuments under review. They are Basin and Range, and Gold Butte.

"I don't have the problem with things being protected that need to be protected," Dahl said. However, when you set aside maybe 10 times more area than you need, common sense needs to kick in, he said. 

Zinke called the Bears Ears area "drop-dead gorgeous country" that deserves protection on Monday in explaining his proposal. However, he said the boundaries should be more narrowly focused around key cultural sites.

Mining And Timber Cutting Would Change

Trump ordered the monument review based on the idea that presidents increasingly are protecting areas that are too large. The thinking is that they do not fit the law's purpose of shielding particular historical or archaeological sites.

National monument designations add protections for lands revered for their natural beauty and historical significance. The goal is to preserve them for future generations.

The restrictions are not as strict as national parks. Some policies include limits on mining, timber cutting and recreational activities such as riding off-road vehicles.

Many national monuments have later been declared national parks. Among them were Zion National Park in Utah and Grand Canyon National Park in Arizona.

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1
Anchor 2: Central Idea

Which statement would be MOST important to include in a summary of the article?

A

Trump ordered the monument review based on the idea that presidents increasingly are protecting areas that are too large.

B

Two beautiful Nevada monuments that are under review by Ryan Zinke are called Gold Butte and Basin and Range.

C

The Antiquities Act was created in 1908 to allow presidents to create monuments and give Congress the power to change them.

D

There is wide disagreement between businesses and conservation groups regarding the review of national monuments.

2
Anchor 2: Central Idea

Read the two paragraphs from the section "Seeking Common Sense."

"I don't have the problem with things being protected that need to be protected," Dahl said. However, when you set aside maybe 10 times more area than you need, common sense needs to kick in, he said.

Zinke called the Bears Ears area "drop-dead gorgeous country" that deserves protection on Monday in explaining his proposal. However, he said the boundaries should be more narrowly focused around key cultural sites.

HOW do these paragraphs develop a CENTRAL idea of the article?

A

by providing two perspectives suggesting compromise on national monuments

B

by describing the specific size of national monuments such as Bears Ears

C

by explaining the importance of protecting cultural sites as part of national monuments

D

by showing that Demar Dahl values common sense when making decisions

3
Anchor 3: People, Events & Ideas

WHY is Ryan Zinke's review of national monuments controversial?

A

because people believe that Zinke is not doing a thorough job studying monuments

B

because Zinke and Trump do not agree about monuments

C

because Zinke could recommend downsizing or eliminating monuments

D

because national parks have been made into monuments by Zinke

4
Anchor 3: People, Events & Ideas

Read the section "Is It A Conservation Move Or Control?"

WHY did Kristen Boyles say the following: "It's obvious the goal is to serve private interests over the public good"?

A

to support the argument that people who care about the environment should fight changes to monuments

B

to show that businesses like the Massachusetts Lobstermen's Association are paying Zinke to change monuments

C

to explain the historic role of the Antiquities Act in the creation and maintenance of national monuments

D

to emphasize her belief that shrinking the Bears Ears National Monument will be good for the environment

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