Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke has formally recommended revising the boundaries of Oregon’s Cascade-Siskiyou National Monument without specifying which areas may be excluded.
The monument’s expansion in early 2017 was opposed by timber companies and ranchers who rely on the public land and fear the designation will restrict logging and grazing.
The Trump administration is reconsidering numerous national monument designations made over the past twenty years, including the Cascade-Siskiyou National Monument, which faces several lawsuits against the expansion.
In his formal recommendation, made public on Dec. 5, Zinke said the monument should be modified to “address impacts on private lands and to address issues concerning the designation and reservation of O&C Lands as part of the monument and the impacts on commercial timber production.”
O&C Lands were set aside by Congress for sustained timber production, which is a key point in the litigation over the expansion.
Although he didn’t say how much the monument would be scaled back, the announcement was cheered by the American Forest Resource Council, one of the organizations suing the federal government.
“We thank Secretary Zinke and Interior staff for taking a closer look at this expansion and we urge President Trump to take action to follow the law,” said Travis Joseph, the group’s president, in a press release.
The organization has struck a deal with the Interior Department to postpone litigation until Jan. 15, giving the Trump administration more than a month to take action on the recommendation.
Zinke’s announcement was denounced by the Sierra Club, which claimed in a press release that the Trump administration is “effectively robbing American people of our country’s natural and cherished wonders.”