President Donald Trump plans to sign an executive order Wednesday directing his interior secretary to review the designation of tens of millions of acres of land as “national monuments,” an action that could upend protections put in place in Utah and other states as Trump tries to rack up accomplishments in his first 100 days.Doing the math to more useful units, that roughly 2,100 square miles. That's not a monument, that's a state. Rhode Island is only 1,200 square miles.
The Antiquities Act of 1906 authorizes the president to declare federal lands as monuments and restrict how the lands can be used.
“The executive order will direct me as the secretary to review prior monument designations and to suggest legislative changes or modifications to the monuments,” Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke told reporters at the White House Tuesday evening.
While Zinke acknowledged criticism that the act has been over-used by past presidents, he insisted he’d approach the topic with an open mind.
“I’m not going to predispose what the outcome is going to be,” he said.
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.
Republicans in the state said it was an egregious abuse of executive power and have asked Trump to take the unusual step of reversing the designation, arguing it will stymie growth by closing the area to new commercial and energy development. The Antiquities Act does not give the president explicit power to undo a designation and no president has ever taken such a step.It's the liberal ratchet; power (and land) that they grab can never be undone. Liberal judges will try to see to that.
But Sen. Martin Heinrich, D-N.M., said that if Trump truly wants to make America great again, he should use the Antiquities Act to protect and conserve America’s public lands. In New Mexico, Obama’s designation of Rio Grande del Norte National Monument and Organ Mountains-Desert Peaks National Monument have preserved important lands while boosting the economy, Heinrich said, a story that has been repeated across the country.May I suggest Manhattan?
Orin Hatch: It’s time to undo the federal land grab of Bears Ears