Today, Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke released his recommendations to undermine marine monuments, including Northeast Canyons and Seamounts, Pacific Remote Islands and Rose Atoll Marine National Monuments. The Northeast Canyons and Seamounts Marine National Monument, American’s newest monument, encompasses almost 5,000 square miles of undersea mountains and valleys, hosting an extraordinary abundance of sea life.
In April, President Trump issued an Executive Order (13792) directing the Department of the Interior to review the size, need and restrictions for many national monuments around the country created since 1996, which included 22 land monuments and five marine monuments.
Oceana Campaign Director Lora Snyder released the following statement after today’s announcement:
“Secretary Zinke proposes to throw protections for three marine national monuments overboard and to allow commercial fishing to resume. Yet, research has found that permanently protecting parts of the ocean allows fish populations to replenish, food webs to rebuild, and delicate corals to remain intact—resulting in an increase in the abundance and diversity of ocean life both inside and outside the protected area and providing more opportunities for fishing and nature-based tourism. The White House should dismiss these recommendations and retain the protections put in place for these marine areas by Presidents Bush and Obama.
The drastic changes to Bears Ears and Grand Staircase Escalante National Monuments announced yesterday are outrageous. Neither the Department of the Interior, the Department of Commerce, nor the president has the authority to revoke national monument designations. President Trump’s Executive Order to review these national monuments is not only unprecedented, but also attempts to change the purpose of the Antiquities Act, which only Congress can do. This is all part of an ongoing effort by this administration to privatize some of the most important public assets we have in this country.