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PNS Daily Newscast - December 8, 2017 


In focus on our Friday rundown; two members of Congress are stepping down over sexual misconduct allegations; the BLM suspends natural gas waste standards; and we have a noted historian's take on the GOP Tax plan.

Daily Newscasts

Businesses, Chambers of Commerce Stand Up for Nat'l. Monuments

The Cascade-Siskiyou National Monument was created in 2000 and expanded in 2017. (Bureau of Land Management/Flickr)
The Cascade-Siskiyou National Monument was created in 2000 and expanded in 2017. (Bureau of Land Management/Flickr)
November 17, 2017

ASHLAND, Ore. – Chambers of Commerce and businesses in Oregon and across the country are telling the director of the National Economic Council that national monuments are integral to local economies.

A leaked memo from the Interior Department suggests reducing the size of the Cascade-Siskiyou National Monument in southern Oregon, and that's raised alarms for the communities surrounding it.

Cindy Bernard, former president of the Ashland Chamber of Commerce, says the Cascade-Siskiyou is a major draw for the area, and Ashland is a community of small businesses that will suffer if the monument is reduced.

"There are certainly businesses that benefit directly - maybe an outdoors-type business that benefits directly - but so do the restaurants and the lodging, and everything else associated with a tourism-based economy," she explains.

More than 570 businesses, aquariums and chambers of commerce signed the letter to Director Gary Cohn, calling the potential rollback of monuments a "job-killing" effort. In the leaked Interior Department memo, other monuments that might be reduced in size or status are in Maine, Nevada, New Mexico, Utah, off the New England coast and in the Pacific Ocean.

Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke says the monuments are under review to find out if there is local support for their creation or expansion. Bernard says the community had ample opportunity in multiple meetings to comment before the Cascade-Siskiyou was created in 2000 and expanded in 2017.

"The people came out in support," she says. "So, it's a little disconcerting that, after the work across lines to make this happen, that that work is not being given any credit."

Jobs have grown by 16 percent and personal income by 30 percent in Jackson County since 2001, according to a report by Headwaters Economics.

Support for this reporting was provided by The Pew Charitable Trusts.

Eric Tegethoff, Public News Service - OR