August 24 is the deadline for U.S. Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke to give his recommendations to President Trump on whether 27 of our existing national monuments should be opened to drilling, mining and other development. Following an executive order from the president, the Interior Department began a review of these national monuments. The review included a public comment period during which 2.7 million comments were submitted; and 98 percent of the comments were in support of keeping or expanding the current boundaries of our national monuments.
While Secretary Zinke has removed some monuments, including Grand Canyon-Parashant, from the review, it is vital that all of our national monuments, including Ironwood Forest, the Sonoran Desert, and Vermilion Cliffs, remain protected. Each of these monuments safeguards not only essential and rare environments, but also culture and history.
The views expressed in guest commentaries are those of the author and are not the views of the Arizona Capitol Times.