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Westerman Requests Transparency on National Monument Boundary Reviews

WASHINGTON, D.C., March 8, 2021 -

Today, House Committee on Natural Resources Ranking Member Bruce Westerman (R-Ark.) sent a letter to U.S. Department of the Interior Acting Secretary Scott de la Vega regarding three national monument boundaries and conditions. In part, Westerman wrote:

“Section 3 of Executive Order (EO) 13990, ‘Protecting Public Health and the Environment and Restoring Science to Tackle the Climate Crisis,’ directed the Department of the Interior (DOI) to review three national monument boundaries and conditions. Despite the fact that three-fourths of the review period has now passed, DOI has yet to initiate any formal review process and the Department does not even have a Senate-confirmed secretary.

“President Trump’s decision to reduce the boundaries of the Grand Staircase-Escalante and Bears Ears National Monuments in Utah and revise the conditions of the Northeast Canyons and Seamounts National Monument in the Atlantic Ocean came after a historic, transparent review. Not only did then-Secretary Ryan Zinke visit these sites personally, the Department received over 2.8 million public comments and conducted dozens of meetings with tribal, state, and local officials and other stakeholders. 

“In contrast, EO 13990 gave the Secretary of the Interior half of the time allotted to Secretary Zinke to review these monuments and provided no criteria by which this review should be completed. Furthermore, the Trump administration review was personally conducted by a Senate-confirmed secretary and not by acting officials or lower-level political appointees.”

Contact: Committee Press Office 202-226-9019

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