Interior Secretary reviews national monument status - FOX5 Vegas - KVVU

Interior Secretary reviews national monument status

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Secretary of Interior Ryan Zinke addresses the state of monuments in Nevada (FOX5). Secretary of Interior Ryan Zinke addresses the state of monuments in Nevada (FOX5).

Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke toured parts of Gold Butte and Basin and Range Sunday. He's reviewing twenty-seven national monuments designated in the last two decades to make sure they should keep their federal distinction.

“I haven't met anyone on both sides that doesn't view that it's worth protecting, that our land is a treasure,” Secretary Zinke said.

However, it’s his job to make sure the land should be federally protected. A national monument must be on federal land and it must have a reason or something to protect.

“It has to be an object and the object is cultural, historical, scientific, something unique,” Secretary Zinke said. “The executive has to designate the monument in the smallest area compatible with protection of that object.”

Gold Butte is around 300,000 acres, and Basin and Range are more than 700,000 acres.

Secretary Zinke says he did find some concerns with the land regarding traditional use, making sure public access is maintained, and that infrastructure upgrades would be allowed.

He was supposed to tour the areas for two days, but he cut his trip short to get back to Washington for a cabinet meeting. The Secretary must submit his recommendations to the President by August 24th.

He will not be back in Nevada before he submits his recommendations. This has many groups in Nevada that did not get to meet with him upset. A press conference with reaction from those groups is being held Monday, July 31st.

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