As the Denver Post’s Jason Blevins reports: last week, Gov. John Hickenlooper came away from a meeting with Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke “reassured” that Colorado would not part of a “review” of national monuments ordered by President Donald Trump. Via Facebook:
Governor Mead, Governor Sandoval, and I, met with Secretary Zinke yesterday in Washington, DC. As a result of our long conversation, I have been reassured that it is unlikely any of Colorado’s monuments will be reviewed. Our meeting as a whole was very positive, and the Secretary committed to working with governors as equal partners.
Public lands protection is a key driver of our outdoor recreation industry, which generates over $34 billion in consumer spending and over 350,000 Colorado jobs. Tourism supports 1 in 9 jobs in our state and our beautiful public lands are a major reason that Colorado has become one of the top vacation destinations in the US. More than that, though, our public lands are a fundamental part of our identity as Coloradans and as Americans. Based on my conversation with Secretary Zinke, I am confident that the federal Administration will work with the State of Colorado and our federal delegation to ensure our national monuments remain protected.
But Blevins reported this weekend–so much for that:
Despite assurances from Gov. John Hickenlooper that Canyons of the Ancients would not be part of President Donald Trump’s nationwide analysis of presidential national monument designations made since 1996, the southwestern Colorado monument is one of 27 under review…
On Friday the Interior Department issued a list of 27 national monuments that would reviewed, including Canyons of the Ancients. The department announced that for the first time the agency would be soliciting public comment on the national monument designations. Public comment is not required when presidents create monuments under the Antiquities Act.
“Today’s action, initiating a formal public comment process finally gives a voice to local communities and states when it comes to Antiquities Act monument designations,” Zinke said in the announcement. “There is no pre-determined outcome on any monument. I look forward to hearing from and engaging with local communities and stakeholders as this process continues.”
We certainly can’t blame Gov. Hickenlooper for relaying in good faith what appears to be false information from the Department of the Interior. The Trump administration has earned a reputation in just a few months in office for contradictory public pronouncements on important issues, officials who aren’t in the loop talking as though they are, and sometimes just plain deception where it suited their purposes.
Which one do you think this is? And what’s the next promise to Hick we should expect to be broken?