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Zinke defends monument changes, still supports Badger-Two Medici - KPAX.com | Continuous News | Missoula & Western Montana

Zinke defends monument changes, still supports Badger-Two Medicine protection

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WASHINGTON, D.C. - Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke will recommend the Badger-Two Medicine be given protection as a National Monument. 

That announcement Tuesday comes even as Zinke is defending the Trump Administration’s move to dramatically trim the size of two monuments in Utah this week.

Zinke went on the defense Tuesday afternoon in a special press call, responding to President Trump’s signing of new executive orders sharply reducing the set aside for the Bears Ears and Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monuments in Southern Utah.

Hundreds of protesters surrounded the President’s visit to Salt Lake Monday, with conservation groups and tribes immediately threatening legal action. 

Zinke released his final report on the monument changes and defended President Trump’s actions, saying other presidents have followed a similar course, that there’s no move to transfer public lands to the states and that he had met with tribal leaders to discuss the changes. 

At the same time, Zinke said he’ll recommend the Badger-Two Medicine be given protection from development as a national monument, setting aside the area on The Front immediately south of Glacier National Park for its cultural value to the Blackfeet Tribe

The Montana Wilderness Association had a mixed reaction to Zinke’s latest statements, saying “while we appreciate Secretary Zinke recommending national monument protection for the Badger-Two Medicine, we find it reprehensible that he’s doing so at the same time he’s stripping protection from a place that is as sacred to five sovereign southwestern nations as the Badger-Two Medicine is to the Blackfeet.”

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