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Interior Secretary ponders fate of Nat'l Monument in Oregon

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SALEM, Ore. (AP) — After touring the "unique" Cascade-Siskiyou National Monument in Oregon and speaking to ranchers, loggers and environmentalists, U.S. Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke must next make a recommendation on whether it should be abolished or resized.

It's going to require a lot of study, Zinke indicated, given that the monument was created — and expanded by former President Barack Obama— to protect biodiversity in an area where three mountain ranges converge, creating diverse habitats for species that would normally be living apart.

Zinke toured the area Saturday and said he wants to find out how the boundaries of the 113,000 acre (45,730 hectare) monument were made. Zinke said he also wants to protect local traditions and "make sure the monument doesn't have unintended consequences."

President Donald Trump in April ordered a review of two dozen monuments established by former presidents over more than two decades.

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