The future boundaries of the Carrizo Plain National Monument are still in question, although it appears the monument’s protected status won’t be entirely abolished. U.S. Department of the Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke announced Thursday he was not recommending the elimination of any national monuments. However, he did say that a "handful" could be reduced in size.
August 24 was the deadline for Zinke to make his recommendations to President Trump about the status of 27 national monuments across the county. That’s after Trump signed an executive order in April directing Zinke to undertake the review.
In a statement, Zinke announced he had sent his recommendation to the White House, but did not provide any details as to what those recommendations are. The news release only included a two-page summary in which Zinke claims justification for Trump’s executive order. He also outlines in the summary reasons people oppose monument status, despite overwhelming public comment to the contrary.
Central Coast Congressman Salud Carbajal said the announcement didn’t provide any conclusion to the review process.
"I think the drama continues with this president’s executive order, and I think it’s extremely important that we do everything possible to protect and save the Carrizo Plain monument designation," Carbajal said. "I have not found anybody - any constituent today - that is interested in modifying, changing or deleting this important designation."
Earlier this month, 134 businesses in the four counties surrounding the Carrizo Plain sent a letter to Zinke urging him to keep protections for the monument in place. Another letter came from the mayors of five San Luis Obispo County cities, calling for the permanent protection of the nonument.