President Trump signed a bipartisan public lands bill Tuesday that will protect 1.3 million acres from California to Kentucky and establish five national monuments. But it's the lack of action on ex-Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke's recommendations in a review of 27 national monuments that's drawing attention. Trump acted quickly on Zinke's recommendation to reduce protected land in Utah by almost 2 million acres in 2017 in "the largest rollback of federal land protection" in US history, per the Guardian.
As the latest bill makes no mention of Zinke's other proposals to shrink two monuments in Oregon and Nevada and allow commercial fishing in protected waters off New England, Hawaii, and American Samoa, some argue Trump only initiated the review in an effort to expand coal mining and uranium extraction in Utah. The House Natural Resources Committee is looking into the matter, with a White House official telling the AP the administration may still take further action. In the meantime, your new monuments are:
- Camp Nelson: Some 10,000 former slaves were emancipated at the site in Jessamine County, Ky., during the Civil War, per the Guardian. It then served as a Union Army training center for African-American soldiers, and as a refugee camp for their families.
- Jurassic National Monument: The former Cleveland-Lloyd dinosaur quarry in Elmo, Utah—home to the densest concentration of Jurassic-era dinosaur bones ever found—has been renamed and now covers 2,543 acres.
- Medgar Evers House: Take a virtual tour of the Jackson, Miss., home of the black civil rights leader. He was assassinated in the carport by a white supremacist and Klansman in 1963 in an act thought to have helped spur the 1964 Civil Rights Act.
- Mill Springs Battlefield: Some 150 Confederates and 50 Union soldiers lost their lives at this battlefield in Nancy, Ky.—the site of the first major victory for Union forces during the Civil War.
- St. Francis Dam: The remains of the curved concrete gravity dam stand near Los Angeles as a reminder of its failure in March 1928. At least 431 people were killed as it released a wall of water 180 feet high in one of California's deadliest disasters.
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