Today, the AP reported that Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke revealed that he will not ask President Trump to eliminate any national monuments. However, he has given indications that the size of the monuments may be reduced or that increased resource extraction may occur on these publicly protected lands.

Peter Fugazzotto, Strategic Programs Director for Turtle Island Restoration Network issued the following statement:

While we are encouraged that our marine national monuments will not be eliminated outright, we remain extremely concerned about potential increases in oil and gas drilling and industrial fishing in protected areas.

However, until Zinke releases greater details, we won’t know whether this is just ocean exploitation hidden behind rhetoric. TIRN will remain vigilant as details are released and will call on our supporters and advocates to take action to defend the oceans.

Words don’t protect endangered species. Laws and regulations do.

TIRN has been one of the leading organizations in organizing resistance to any reductions in protections for existing marine national monuments and sanctuaries. To date, we have coordinated more than 15,000 petition signatures, a letter from a coalition of more than 30 organizations, and an op ed.