Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke’s recommendation for President Trump to shrink some national monuments opens up the possibility for new mining or drilling on federal land that would no longer be off limits.
Environmentalists who oppose reducing the monuments have expressed alarm that mining or other energy companies could rush into suddenly unprotected land to try to extract fossil fuels that they believe will worsen global warming.
But energy and public lands experts say the monuments Zinke is reportedly targeting don’t have strong prospects for crude oil or natural gas.
That is true of the most contentious national monument reviewed by Zinke, Bears Ears in Utah, which former President Barack Obama designated just before leaving office.
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