Here’s what we and others said about the review of national monuments, ordered by President Trump, carried out by Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke and finished — but kept secret — late last week.

... Indians and other backers of the monument have been insulted. But, given the legal fuzziness of the federal Antiquities Act, those who opposed the designation and who hoped to open the federally owned land to more mining, drilling, grazing and other such potentially destructive activities have not won. ...

Fragile national monuments in danger — Washington Post Editorial

What is clear enough is that an extensive tour of southern Utah and consultation with local tribes did not impart on Zinke the proper awe for the natural wonders he is now endangering.
... We are under no illusions that this will settle the contentious issues surrounding these monuments. Interest groups are bound to argue passionately against any reduction. But it would be hard to argue with a straight face that both these monuments followed the law’s dictates to set aside the “smallest area compatible” with the objects in need of protection. ...
... it seems likely that Zinke’s process has had less to do with the kind of contemplative weighing of interests that led to the monuments’ creation in the first place than with appeasing conservative politicians and private industries who want the federal government to turn over land to the states so that they can open it to mining and other exploitative uses. ...

Trump’s threat to the outdoors — San Francisco Chronicle Editorial

... There’s a clear political agenda at work. While the monuments under review were designated by the last three presidents, the majority were made by Barack Obama, many in his final months in office. Undoing the Obama record, from health care to voting rights, is a Trump fixation. ...
One reason this newspaper cheered Zinke’s addition to the president’s cabinet this year was because of his staunchly conservative credentials as a Republican congressman, yet his resistance to those on the far right who want the government to sell off or give away federal lands, including, yes, parks and monuments.
... Environmentalists who oppose reducing the monuments have expressed alarm that mining or other energy companies could rush into suddenly unprotected land to try to extract fossil fuels that they believe will worsen global warming. But energy and public lands experts say the monuments Zinke is reportedly targeting don’t have strong prospects for crude oil or natural gas...

The Rush to Develop Oil and Gas We Don’t Need — Jim Lyons | For The New York Times

Imagine the businessman Donald Trump putting his real estate up for sale when the market was near the bottom. That’s the equivalent of what President Trump is doing with the oil and gas on our public lands.
... Instead of listening to the American public, Zinke seems to be taking his marching orders from a rogue’s gallery of anti-conservation and anti-regulation interests. This western good-old-boy network is spearheaded by the oil industry, front groups aligned with the Koch brothers to create the illusion of grassroots opposition ...


Francisco Kjolseth | The Salt Lake Tribune Staff photos of the Salt Lake Tribune staff. George Pyle.