Following through on an executive order signed by President Trump last week, the Interior Department on Friday released a list of the 21 national monuments and five marine monuments now under federal review.
The list includes sites dating all the way back to 1924’s Craters of the Moon National Monument in Idaho up through the Bears Ears National Monument in Utah, established late in former President Obama’s term. Other notable monuments under review include Utah’s Grand Staircase-Escalante, Hanford Reach in Washington, Grand Canyon-Parashant in Arizona, the Papahanaumokuakea marine monument off the coast of Hawaii, and a host of others.
The review does not necessarily mean that any of those monuments will be stripped of their designations, though it’s clear the administration intends to shrink the amount of land and water designated as monuments and, in the process, open up that land to energy development and other activities.
“The Department of the Interior is the steward of America’s greatest treasures and the manager of one-fifth of our land. Part of being a good steward is being a good neighbor and listening to the American people who we represent,” Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke said in a statement. “Today’s action, initiating a formal public comment process finally gives a voice to local communities and states when it comes to Antiquities Act monument designations. There is no pre-determined outcome on any monument. I look forward to hearing from and engaging with local communities and stakeholders as this process continues.”
Critics have said that past presidents — President Obama, most notably — abused their power under the century-old Antiquities Act by creating monuments far larger and more sprawling than the legislation intended. The act says presidents should set aside the smallest area possible, but many of the monuments are in millions of acres.
It’s unclear whether Mr. Trump has the legal authority to rescind a monument designation, though Friday’s list suggests he’s likely to try. As the process unfolds, Mr. Zinke said the public will be able to offer comments.
The full list of monuments under review is available here: https://www.doi.gov/pressreleases/interior-department-releases-list-monuments-under-review-announces-first-ever-formal
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