WASHINGTON, D.C. – Oregon’s Senators Jeff Merkley and Ron Wyden today pushed back against the Trump administration’s leaked draft report that recommended diminished protections for the Cascade-Siskiyou National Monument, pointing out serious concerns with both the factual inaccuracy of the report and lack of transparency surrounding the report.
Despite the fact that a leaked version of the report appeared in the media over a month ago, the administration still has not released the report to the public or briefed either of Oregon’s Senators on the proposed changes.
In the letter to White House Chief of Staff John Kelly, the Senators wrote, “We are disappointed to learn of the Department of the Interior’s recommendations to diminish boundaries and protections for national monuments, including the Cascade-Siskiyou National Monument in our home state. We still have not received a briefing from the Department of the Interior regarding the proposed changes even though Secretary Zinke pledged to work directly with us. Instead, we learned about the report through the news.”
They added, “We are also concerned about the numerous factual errors in the report and the role they played in recommending changes to Cascade-Siskiyou. Had we been appropriately consulted, we could have easily addressed these errors prior to the report being sent to the President.”
The errors included numerous falsehoods about the status of O&C lands, motorized access within the original monument, and hunting and fishing rights.
The Senators also explained the expansive public process and significant local support that informed the monument designation. The public process allowed the Obama administration to directly respond to feedback from the local community and, in many cases, adjust the boundaries of the final monument designation accordingly to take into account local preferences.
“In light of the robust level of support for and the measured approach to expanding the monument, we request that you consult with us before any action is taken to alter the boundaries or management of the Cascade-Siskiyou National Monument,” the Senators concluded.
The full text of the letter is available in the attached PDF.