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Cantwell: Hanford Reach National Monument to retain protected status

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Hanford Reach National Monument (Photo: U.S. Department of Energy)

RICHLAND, Wash. (AP) — Sen. Maria Cantwell says the Hanford Reach National Monument in eastern Washington is no longer under review for possible changes to the protections created for the natural landmark.

President Donald Trump in April ordered a review of two dozen monuments established by former presidents over more than two decades. Trump said the designation of the monuments was “a massive federal land grab” that “never should have happened.”

On Wednesday Cantwell, Washington’s junior Democratic senator, said in a statement that Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke told her that Hanford Reach would maintain its protected status.

Washington Gov. Jay Inslee said in a statement the decision was welcome news but unconscionable that the debate even had to happen.

Hanford Reach was designated by former President Bill Clinton in 2000. It covers 195,000 acres and much of the land was once a security zone around the Hanford Nuclear Reservation that has remained largely undisturbed since 1943.