SALEM, Ore. (AP) — Oregon Gov. Kate Brown asked the state attorney general to be prepared to go to court if the Trump administration tries to shrink a national monument in this Pacific Northwest state.
Brown and other political leaders awaited word Friday on whether the Trump administration will reduce the Cascade-Siskiyou National Monument, or leave the 112,000-acre (45,730-hectare) monument along the border with California alone.
Brown's office and Oregon's congressional delegation have sought copies of Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke's draft report, which he delivered to President Donald Trump this week, to no avail, the governor's press secretary, Bryan Hockaday, said in a telephone interview.
"We are all eagerly awaiting it," Hockaday said.
Late Thursday, Brown said she's deeply concerned about the future of the monument and that she suspects "that Oregon's public lands are in the crosshairs of the federal administration."
"In the face of new threats to Oregon's public lands and our natural resources, I call on Attorney General Ellen Rosenblum to consider all legal options necessary to defend our Oregon values, and to be ready to challenge any overreach of executive power," Brown said.
Zinke has said that none of America's 27 monuments he's examined will be rescinded, though he said he'll push for boundary changes on a handful.
In the last days of his administration, then President Barack Obama added about 48,000 acres (19,425 hectares) to the monument in southwestern Oregon to protect its biodiversity. Two timber companies sued, saying the move reduces the supply of timber sold and jeopardizes their log supply.
On a visit to the Cascade-Siskiyou National Monument in July, Zinke expressed doubts that much scientific study went behind the drawing of its boundaries. He stressed that the Antiquities Act of 1906, which authorizes a president to create a monument, limits their size "to the smallest area compatible with proper care and management of the objects to be protected."
"Nobody knows how exactly the boundaries were made," Zinke said. "Going back, were the boundaries made on the basis of science, best guess? And so those are the things I'm reviewing."
Created by President Bill Clinton in 2000, Cascade-Siskiyou is the first monument set aside solely for the preservation of biodiversity.
It is situated where the Klamath, Siskiyou, and Cascade mountain ranges converge, creating a unique mixing of diverse habitats that are home to species that co-exist there but would normally live in separate ecoregions. Species that live there include pygmy nuthatches, kangaroo rats, rough-skinned newts and northern spotted owls, according to a monument pamphlet.