- Associated Press - Wednesday, June 28, 2017

WHITEFISH, Mont. (AP) - Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke has announced changes to Montana’s Upper Missouri River Breaks National Monument will probably not happen.

Zinke said he “likely” won’t recommend changes to the 586-square-mile (1,520-square-kilometer) monument that President Bill Clinton created in 2001 using the Antiquities Act, The Great Falls Tribune reported (https://gftrib.com/2t13lTE ).

Gov. Steve Bullock sent a letter to Zinke last week asking him to keep the Breaks monument unchanged. Zinke upheld the governor’s request on Tuesday in his hometown of Whitefish following a speech to the Western Governors’ Association.

“The elected officials and the vast majority of Montanans are comfortable with the Missouri Breaks as it is,” Zinke said. “The governor certainly is. And I see no reason to change that.”

Zinke has been acting out President Donald Trump’s directive to review all monuments larger than 156 square miles (400 square kilometers) that were created since 1996. Trump called for the review in response to past presidents’ use of executive orders to create national monuments.

In the case of the Breaks monument, Zinke would rather not “open a wound that has already healed,” he said.

Zinke said he asks three questions when assessing changes to national monuments: Did creation of the monument follow the guidelines for creating monuments as spelled out in the Antiquities Act, was there enough public input when it was formed and would it be more disruptive or in the best interest of the local communities to do further review?

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Information from: Great Falls Tribune, https://www.greatfallstribune.com

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