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Trump administration officials dismissed benefits of national monuments

Every day seems to bring a new revelation about just how sneaky and un-transparent this administration’s agency heads are. Since EPA administrator Scott Pruitt resigned, Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke has become the new poster boy for scandals and federal investigations. In yesterday’s Washington Post, it has been revealed that “Trump administration officials dismissed benefits of national monuments”, sought out evidence to support the administration’s case for unraveling national monuments for timber and minerals extraction and dismissed or deleted evidence that public sites “boosted tourism and spurred archaeological discoveries.”

This is definitely going on the Less Access to Less Information page!

…thousands of pages of email correspondence [obtained through FOIA] chart how Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke and his aides instead tailored their survey of protected sites to emphasize the value of logging, ranching and energy development that would be unlocked if they were not designated national monuments.

…The new documents show that as Zinke conducted his four-month review, Interior officials rejected material that would justify keeping protections in place and sought out evidence that could buttress the case for unraveling them.

… [the] redactions came to light because Interior’s FOIA office sent documents to journalists and advocacy groups on July 16 that it later removed online.

“It appears that we inadvertently posted an incorrect version of the files for the most recent National Monuments production,” officials wrote July 17. “We are requesting that if you downloaded the files already to please delete those versions.”

…The inadvertently released documents show that department officials dismissed some evidence that contradicted the administration’s push to revise national monument designations, which are made under the 1906 American Antiquities Act. Estimates of increased tourism revenue, analyses showing that existing restrictions had not hurt fishing operators and agency reports finding that less vandalism occurred as a result of monument designations were all set aside.

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