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National Monument Public Input Period Closes With Over 1.2 Million Comments

Wolfgang Staudt
Creative Commons
Grand Staircase Escalante National Monument in southern Utah is one of the 27 monuments currently under review by the Trump Administration

The public-comment period for a Trump administration review of 27 national monuments ended Monday. The fate of those monuments now rests with Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke. The Interior Department reports that more than 1.2 million comments poured in via the department’s website, along with thousands more via traditional mail. The review focused on monuments larger than 100,000 acres designated by presidential proclamation since 1996, or smaller ones judged to have been created without adequate public input. Those under scrutiny for possible boundary changes or rescinding included the new Bears Ears National Monument and the 21-year-old Grand Staircase-Escalante monument, both in Utah, as well as Canyons of the Ancients near Cortez, Colorado. Zinke has already issued an interim report recommending the 1.3-million-acre Bears Ears be downsized.

CORRECTION: A previous version of this story listed the size of the Bears Ears National Monument at 1.9 million acres. Bears Ears is actually 1.3 million acres; Grand Staircase Escalante is 1.9 million.

Gail Binkly is a career journalist who has worked for the Colorado Springs Gazette and Cortez Journal. She is currently a freelance writer as well as the editor of the Four Corners Free Press, based in Cortez.
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