US Interior chief wants smaller monuments, but not at home
By Associated Press
BILLINGS, Mont. (AP) - U.S. Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke has closely followed his boss' playbook, encouraging mining and drilling on public lands and reducing the size of national monuments that President Donald Trump called a "massive land grab."
Yet Zinke has made an exception in his home state of Montana.
He's recommending that Trump create a new national monument in Montana and leave another in the state intact despite longstanding local opposition.
Zinke also wants to curb mining along the border of Montana and Yellowstone National Park.
The moves have rankled both sides in the debate over how to manage millions of acres of public lands in the U.S. West.
Supporters of public land protections say Zinke, who has long harbored higher political ambitions, is showing favoritism for his home state. Others say he's unreasonably curbing the use of those lands.