National monuments a 'massive federal land grab'

Posted April 28, 2017

A review could upend protections put in place in Montana and other states under a 1906 law called the Antiquities Act that authorizes the president to declare federal lands as monuments and restrict their use.

"Today, we are giving power back to the states and people where it belongs", Trump said while signing the executive order at the Interior Department headquarters.

President Donald Trump has signed an executive order requiring a review of environmental protections given to lands owned by the federal government.

But he made clear that one region in particular will get special attention: the remote desert canyon lands of southeastern Utah, where Clinton created the Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument in 1996 and Obama set aside the 1.3 million-acre Bears Ears National Monument in the final days of a year ago.

Zenke said the first monument created using the Antiquities Act was Devils Tower, a 1,200-acre monument, but in recent years, single monuments span tens of millions of acres.

President Donald Trump's sweeping review of more than two decades' worth national monument designations includes a unique undersea area 150 miles off the New England coast that CT lawmakers fought to preserve previous year. This includes a review of Utah's Bears Ears and Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monuments.

"In December of previous year alone, the federal government asserted this power over 1.35 million acres of land in Utah, known as Bears Ears - I've heard a lot about Bears Ears, and I hear it's attractive - over the profound objections of the citizens of Utah".

In the past, areas that presidents have tagged as "national monuments" were later transformed by Congress into full-fledged National Parks - the Grand Canyon and Death Valley among them. Again, we don't have to go through legislative process; the President determines it, and it does not have to go through NEPA. But the report makes a special case for the Bears Ears monument - one of Obama's last official acts in office - by asking for an interim report in 45 days.

Filfred said he and the coalition won't stand by idly if Zinke tries to undo the designation. The Antiquities Act is the exception.

Republicans like Bishop are arguing that the Antiquities Act could be used to completely do away with national monuments instead of just creating them.

Since Trump signed the order, Patagonia has published multiple posts on social media requesting citizens to call their USA representatives and express their opposition to the action. He has vowed to remain open-minded, opposing the sale of federal land or transfer to state or local control.

Our National Monuments were established after extensive public input because they provide unique and irreplaceable cultural, ecological, economic and recreational value worth protecting for our children and our grandchildren.

Dave Eliason, PLC president, said while the Act was meant to preserve Native American artifacts and areas of historical importance, Presidents have instead used the Act to bypass Congress and local communities to place heavy restrictions on massive swaths of land. "I am fully confident that any good-faith review will reaffirm the merits of Berryessa Snow Mountain and confirm our community's support for its designation as a national monument".