CEDAR CITY – Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke said Friday he is not recommending changes to Arizona’s Grand Canyon-Parashant National Monument.
The Arizona reserve, located west of the Grand Canyon, has some of the most pristine geological formations in North America, Zinke said. The formations “show the scientific history of our Earth while containing thousands of years of human relics and fossils,” he said.
Zinke’s decision comes just three months after he was tasked with reviewing a list of 27 national monuments for possible elimination or reduction.
The review of the monuments was ordered by President Donald Trump, who called many of the designations unwarranted land grabs by the federal government. A final report from Zinke is due to be on the president’s desk later this month.
Designated a monument in 2000 by then President Bill Clinton, the Grand Canyon-Parashant National Monument takes in over a million acres. It is the fifth monumental site the secretary has taken off the list. Others removed from consideration are in Montana, Colorado, Idaho and Washington state.
Twenty-two other national monuments, most located in the West, face curtailing or elimination of protections put in place over the past two decades by presidents from both political parties.
Monuments under review include Bears Ears and Grand Staircase-Escalante in Utah, Nevada’s Basin and Range, and Katahdin Woods and Waters in Maine.
The Center for Western Priorities, a Colorado-based environmental group, slammed Zinke even as it praised his decision to spare Grand Canyon-Parashant.
“It’s time for Secretary Zinke to end this week-by-week reality show charade,” said the group’s executive director, Jennifer Rokala. “Does he really expect us to say ‘thank you’ for taking the only legal option available to him? By pardoning a landscape-scale monument of more than one million acres, he’s acknowledging both the value and legal status of all of America’s national monuments.”
Associated Press reporter Matthew Daly contributed to this article.
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