Washington, D.C. - Colorado U.S. Senator Michael Bennet and Governor John Hickenlooper today sent a letter to Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke urging him to refrain from modifying any national monument designations in Colorado.
Bennet and Hickenlooper affirmed their support for national monuments and asked Zinke not to take steps to roll back protections for existing national monuments. "Such actions would deprive the future generations of Americans who have yet to experience these iconic landscapes or study their rich history," they wrote in the letter.
Bennet and Hickenlooper cited Colorado's Canyons of the Ancients as one of these monuments with rich history, as it contains the highest known density of archeological sites in the country. They also wrote of their support for Bears Ears National Monument, emphasizing its connection to local tribes and how removing protections for this monument would be both "unprecedented" and "unpopular across the country."
"Recent monument designations in Colorado are the product of robust public engagement and in many cases years of deliberation that preceded their designation under the Antiquities Act," they wrote.
Instead of modifying national monuments, Bennet and Hickenlooper encouraged Zinke to "focus [his] Department's limited resources on the sustainable management of our nation's public lands and waters, and our valuable natural resources."
Secretary Zinke's review of national monument designations is ongoing. Monuments included in the review are those designated after January 1, 1996, with footprints greater than 100,000 acres, or those Zinke determines lacked adequate outreach or coordination. Bears Ears' public comment period ends May 26. Canyons of the Ancients' public comment period ends June 9.
Click HERE for a copy of the letter.