Trump Order Could Undo National Monuments' Designations

Trump Order Could Undo National Monuments' Designations

Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke will then recommend legislative or executive changes to monument designations. In the 1976 Federal Land Policy and Management Act, Congress again affirmed that only it had the power to revoke or modify national monuments, says Mark Squillace, a University of Colorado Law professor and expert on the Antiquities Act.

A new poll out Tuesday showed a majority of Utahns, 52 percent, support reducing the 1.35 million acres of the Bears Ears monument or jettisoning the designation altogether.

The Center for Western Priorities called the president's impending executive order an "all-out assault on America's public lands" with the goal being to eliminate the national monuments his predecessors established.

"Some of these areas were put off limits to traditional uses", like logging and ranching, Zinke said.

The first step is to provide Trump with an interim report in 45 days focused on Bears Ears.

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"This is an enormous responsibility".

The review, to be led by Zinke, will span from the 878,000-acre Grand Staircase-Escalate National Monument established in southern Utah by President Clinton in 1996 to the 1.35 million-acre Bears Ears National Monument created by President Obama over the opposition of the Beehive State's congressional delegation late past year.

While Bears Ears and Grand Staircase-Escalante are expected to top Trump's list, environmentalists don't think the review will stop there. No president has ever reversed a monument designation.

Bishop chairs the House Committee on Natural Resources and has urged Trump to rescind what he sees as Obama's abuse of the Antiquities Act.

The Governor has been a consistent opponent of the Katahdin Woods and Waters National Monument since before it was created by President Obama previous year. He did so citing his prerogative under the Antiquities Act - a century-old law meant to give presidents only limited authority to designate special landmarks.

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Former President Barack Obama infuriated Utah Republicans when he created the Bears Ears National Monument in late December on more than 1 million acres of land that's sacred to Native Americans and home to tens of thousands of archaeological sites, including ancient cliff dwellings.

In response to the ongoing threats to gut this important presidential authority, the National Parks Conservation Association retained a legal analysis that determined the president "has no power unilaterally to abolish a national monument under the Antiquities Act of 1906". "There is no one in state administration who supports it".

"That's why the president is asking for a review of the monuments", Zinke said, promising local engagement in the review process.

"Bears Ears and other national monuments were designated after significant community input because they are a critical part of our national heritage and have exceptional ecological characteristics worth protecting for future generations", Marcario said. "The loggers, the fisherman, those areas that are affected should have a voice". But in the twilight hours of his presidency, he betrayed us, forgoing our grass-roots effort in favor of a top-down monument designation - unprecedented in size and scope.

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