Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke recently recommended resizing and changing allowable uses on some national monuments as part of a review ordered by President Trump, who is likely to implement the contentious recommendations.

Let me summarize the story. When the president left the White House, after reserving millions of acres of mainly Western federal lands, many thought he had overreached his authority by eliminating vast expanses from potential development. The new president saw the former president as too much of a conservationist, someone who had protected way too many acres. The new secretary of the interior was a Westerner who favored exploitation of natural resources and didn’t support the reservations. Some in Congress even demanded the public lands be turned over to the states.

Oh, this isn’t the same story I started with. This one occurred over 100 years ago and is very old news from 1909. The old president was Teddy Roosevelt, the new one was William H. Taft, and secretary of the interior was Richard A. Ballinger. Often, history repeats really horrible stories.

Alaska was ripe for exploitation as the 20th century began. Congress restricted ownership of Alaskan land in 1906 and President Roosevelt reserved land that would become the Tongass and …read more

Source:: Deseret News – U.S. & World News

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