by Tim Pearce
Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke announced the creation of the new Camp Nelson National Monument in Kentucky Saturday, the first national monument designated under President Donald Trump.
Camp Nelson was a Civil War recruitment and training camp that trained more than 10,000 African American soldiers for the Union Army, the third most of any camp.
I’m in #Kentucky today to announce that @POTUS @realDonaldTrump has declared Camp Nelson a #NationalMonument and it will be under the care of the @NatlParkService #FindYourPark pic.twitter.com/gZXItR0Jp7
— Secretary Ryan Zinke (@SecretaryZinke) October 27, 2018
“The monument President Trump announced today will serve as a historic marker for the commonwealth of Kentucky and memorialize a site important to African American soldiers in the Civil War,” Utah GOP Rep. Rob Bishop, chairman of the House Committee on Natural Resources, said in a statement.
“I appreciate President Trump joining the House in recognizing the unique historic nature of Camp Nelson and applaud the president for obeying the letter of the law in using his congressional delegated authority to create national monuments, Bishop continued. I am hopeful the Senate will follow the House and the president’s lead in giving Camp Nelson the prominence and security it deserves through the force of congressional enacted law.”
— US Department of the Interior (@Interior) October 27, 2018
The move was celebrated across the political spectrum as Republicans and conservationists cheered the announcement. Some environmentalists only gave muted applause, though, because of Trump’s December cuts to two national monuments in Utah.
“We can’t ignore the deep irony and injustice in President Trump using the same authority to protect one chapter of America’s story, while illegally stripping protections for another national monument that honors Native American history and culture, Center for American Progress director of public lands Kate Kelly told The Washington Post, referring to Utah’s Bears Ears National Monument. Given this announcement comes mere days before a tight election in Kentucky, we must also question whether the historic site is being used as a political pawn.”
In December, Trump ordered the designations of Bears Ears and Grand Staircase-Escalante national monuments cut back by about 85 percent and 50 percent, respectively. The move was supported by local Utahans and the state’s congressional delegation, but environmentalists and Democrat lawmakers resisted Trump’s action. Several groups filed lawsuits in response to the cuts.
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