July 10, 2017

National monument comment period closes today

Bureau of Land Management, Patrick Alexander, via Wikimedia Commons

Baldy Peak and La Cueva seen from Baylor Canyon Road, west side of the Organ Mountains, Dona Ana County, New Mexico, 23 May 2005.

Today is the final day to share your thoughts about national monuments as part of a review by the federal government.

Earlier this spring, the U.S. Department of the Interior solicited public comment on Secretary Ryan Zinke’s review of monuments larger than 100,000 acres that were designated from 1996 onward. This includes two monuments in New Mexico, the Rio Grande del Norte National Monument near Taos and the Organ Mountains-Desert Peaks National Monument in the southern part of the state.

The review was spurred by Utah Sen. Orrin Hatch’s opposition to national monuments, including President Barack Obama’s 2016 designation of Bears Ears and President Bill Clinton’s 1996 designation of Grand Staircase Escalante National Monument.

“We’re now getting something done that people thought would never get done, and I’m doing it in honor of you guys,” President Donald Trump said in April during the signing ceremony for the order directing Zinke to review the monuments. The president recognized a number of Republican lawmakers, including Utah Gov. Gary Herbert and Utah Sen. Mike Lee. In particular, Trump praised Hatch, saying, “Believe me, he’s tough. He would call me and say, ‘you gotta do this.’ Isn’t that right, Orrin? He’s shocked that I’m doing it, but I’m doing it because it’s the right thing to do.”

To submit comments online for the review, visit http://www.regulations.gov and enter “DOI-2017-0002” in the search bar. Note that the page is loading very slowly today, and you’ll be required to wait for over 45 minutes.

The full list of monuments up for review is online here.