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Interior chief to Colorado’s Cory Gardner: Ancients ain’t on the bubble

Author: Dan Njegomir - June 21, 2017 - Updated: June 21, 2017

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So, maybe all us Coloradans at last can stop our worrying, OK?

U.S. Sen. Cory Gardner’s office even provided a video clip of Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke confirming for Gardner in a committee hearing Tuesday what Gov. John Hickenlooper had concluded earlier this year: that Canyons of the Ancients National Monument in Southwest Colorado isn’t going to lose its designation.

President Trump directed the Interior Department in late April to begin reviewing designations of national monuments created since 1996 that are greater than 100,000 acres. Trump has challenged what he maintains was an “egregious abuse of power” by the Obama administration in designating some of the monuments. Ancients, however, was designated by the Clinton administration in 2000.

Western Republicans like Colorado’s junior U.S. senator from Yuma seem to have been saddled with the responsibility for assuring the public that our treasured natural wonders aren’t in peril in the era of Donald Trump. After all, he is their party’s standard bearer, and his push to revisit a host of environmental and public lands policies of the Obama administration — while generally cheered on by the GOP — has left some Republicans like Gardner in a ticklish position. They have to walk the line between their broad support for the administration’s initiatives and their need to stand up for the likes of parks and monuments, treasured by Coloradans of every political stripe.

A press release from Gardner’s office Tuesday makes that clear:

Gardner has been a strong advocate for protecting Colorado’s public lands, and recently received the Outdoor Industry Association’s 2017 Friend of the Outdoor Industry Award. In May, Gardner and Congressman Scott Tipton (CO-3) sent a letter to Secretary Zinke requesting “any review of Canyons should conclude that no changes to the designation are necessary.”

Democrats have very publicly wrung their hands over the administration’s policy pronouncements on public lands and other environmental issues, knowing it’s ultimately up to the Republicans to dispel fears. Of course, the Dems have been eating it up. (“Hey, don’t blame us. He’s your president!”)

Dan Njegomir

Dan Njegomir

Dan Njegomir is the opinion editor for Colorado Politics. A longtime journalist and more-than-25-year veteran of the Colorado political scene, Njegomir has been an award-winning newspaper reporter, an editorial page editor, a senior legislative staffer at the State Capitol and a political consultant.


4 comments

  • Allan Bunger

    June 21, 2017 at 7:50 am

    Many national monuments were designated such by the Obama administration against the wishes of the people in the states where the monument was designated! The Trump Administration simply wants to review what Obama did and insure that what is done is what the people want done. Trump is not going to do things the residents of states want done. Resisting everything Trump does still doesn’t make what he is doing wrong! Just being loud and critical won’t help! Democrats are starting to learn that a Hate Trump platform is no platform at all!

    • Allan Bunger

      June 21, 2017 at 7:53 am

      Many national monuments were designated such by the Obama administration against the wishes of the people in the states where the monument was designated! The Trump Administration simply wants to review what Obama did and insure that what is done is what the people want done. Trump is not going to do things the residents of states don’t want done. Resisting everything Trump does still doesn’t make what he is doing wrong! Just being loud and critical won’t help! Democrats are starting to learn that a Hate Trump platform is no platform at all!

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