Carrizo Plain Safe from Interior Secretary Zinke?

Leaked Memo Suggests National Monument Off List of Targets

Carrizo Plain
Caitlin Fitch

A leaked copy of Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke’s recommendations to President Donald Trump regarding changes to more than two dozen national monuments suggests that Carrizo Plain National Monument will not be affected. That Carrizo has been left alone is “consistent with the widespread public support, including 153 businesses throughout the Central Coast region, 32 local elected officials, 4 chambers of commerce, 45 community organizations, and nine newspapers, along with thousands of residents who submitted letters and postcards urging that the Carrizo Plain remain protected,” according to a statement by Los Padres ForestWatch.

Zinke was tasked with analyzing budgetary impacts associated with management and potential opportunities to explore energy production within monument boundaries. The leaked report recommends boundary reductions and other changes to Bears Ears (Utah), Cascade-Siskiyou (Oregon and California), Gold Butte (Nevada), Grand Staircase­–Escalante (Utah), Katahdin Woods and Waters (Maine), Organ Mountains–Desert Peaks (New Mexico), Rio Grande del Norte (New Mexico), and three marine monuments in the Atlantic and Pacific oceans. It remains unclear if the leaked document, originally obtained by the Washington Post, is the final draft of Zinke’s report.

Santa Barbara’s Congressmember Salud Carbajal repeatedly sought a meeting with Zinke to discuss the matter but said he never got a reply, let alone an appointment. Carbajal expressed “relief” that the Carrizo Plain was not one of the six targeted for boundary change, but characterized Zinke’s plans as “an unprecedented attack on our public lands.”


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