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Poll: Californians Oppose Trump’s Plan to Shrink National Monuments

Berryessa Snow Mountain National Monument is one of several monuments in California that could see its boundaries downsized by the Trump administration. (Bob Wick/BLM)
Berryessa Snow Mountain National Monument is one of several monuments in California that could see its boundaries downsized by the Trump administration. (Bob Wick/BLM)
February 22, 2018

LOS ANGELES — More than three-quarters of Californians oppose the Trump administration's plan to shrink two national monuments in Utah and want to see the Golden State's national monuments protected, according to a new poll from the nonprofit Hispanic Access Foundation.

Researchers found that people of color feel even stronger about it, with 84 percent opposing the administration's stance. Robert Fanger, chief communications officer at the Hispanic Access Foundation, said 95 percent of respondents said they favor protecting public lands of historic, scientific or scenic value as national monuments.

"The administration's decision to remove protections from national monuments, potentially opening them up to drilling, mining or logging, is hugely unpopular in the Golden State,” Fanger said. “Californians want to have access to these lands and want to see them conserved for future generations."

Last year, Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke put 27 monuments under review, including seven in California: Cascade Siskiyou, Berryessa Snow Mountain, Carrizo Plain, Giant Sequoia, Mojave Trails, Sand to Snow and San Gabriel Mountains. He later declared Sand to Snow "safe."

The administration contends national monuments should only conserve the smallest area necessary.

Pastor Gabriel Araya with the Casa del Rey International Ministry in Rialto, said national monuments are key to what many love about California - the wide-open spaces, abundant wildlife, clean air and water and all kinds of opportunity for recreation, such as hunting, camping, fishing and rafting.

"If we lose this one, we are losing the Golden State. We have lost everything we are here for,” Araya said. “We are losing part of the community. We are losing part of history. We are losing our great heritage."

The poll also found that people opposed by a 3-to-1 margin a plan to divert water from the aquifer under a national monument and send it to L.A. and Orange County. Such a plan is being considered by the administration for Mojave Trails in the southern California desert.

Suzanne Potter, Public News Service - CA