Secretary Zinke fires back at Patagonia protest - ABC FOX Montana Local News, Weather, Sports KTMF | KWYB

Secretary Zinke fires back at Patagonia protest

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Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke defended his recommendation to reduce or alter a handful of national monuments in a media briefing Tuesday morning. Zinke dismissed a protest led by Patagonia as a “special interest” complaint.

“This is not about energy, there [sic] is no oil and gas assets.” Zinke said, “The argument that somehow President Trump stole land is nefarious, false and a lie.”

The protest came in light of the National Monument Report, which President Donald Trump asked Zinke to complete. After reviewing 27 of the nation’s 150 monuments, Zinke said he recommended revising the boundaries of 4 and altering the uses of 10 monuments.

Zinke, who served as Montana’s only congressman before President Trump appointed him secretary this year, said he values public land. He added that changing the monument's designation will allow for more active management, vehicle access and forest fire mitigation.

“The president was absolutely right in asking for a review,” Zinke said.

More than 98 percent of public comments submitted to the Department of the Interior this summer expressed support for maintaining or expanding national monuments, according to the Center for Western Priorities.

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