Trump Administration Sends Mixed Messages on Monuments Review

Trump's Proposed Order Could Jeopardize 21 Years Of National Monuments

President Donald Trump signed an executive order Wednesday that orders a review of federally designated lands.

"An attack on one national monument is an attack on all", said Theresa Pierno of the National Parks Conservation Association. That's especially so, it says, when a president is correcting a predecessor's act that exceeded what a law intended - such as creating vast monuments when the Antiquities Act says they should consist of "the smallest area compatible with the proper care and management of the objects to be protected".

"The Antiquities Act does not give the fed government unlimited power to lock up millions of acres of land and water". Zinke will be working over the next four months to review some of the nation's "National Monuments" Zinke clarifies which ones are being considered. Some monuments have been expanded since their initial designation.

Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke told reporters late Tuesday the order requires him to review about 30 national monuments created over the past two decades, and recommend which designations should be lifted or altered.

Almost all of the monuments being investigated are in the Western United States, but only one is in Montana: namely, the Upper Missouri River Breaks National Monument which was created by Bill Clinton in 2001. Immediately, the state's GOP congressional delegation began arguing that the Bears Ears designation was made against local wishes and without local input. Complaints about people getting kicked off the land are exaggerated, they say, and opposition fades as nearby communities benefit from tourism the monuments attract.

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As he signed the order Wednesday, Trump said some of his actions may not be popular, but he believes he is doing the right thing.

"National monuments are critically important to local economies across the country and on the North Coast", Huffman said.

"To call into question whether our national heritage is worth protecting will have lasting repercussions on the preservation of our public lands for generations to come", Theresa Pierno, president and CEO of the group, said in a statement. It contains places for rock climbing, Ancestral Puebloan cliff dwellings that date back 3,500 years and land considered sacred by Native American tribes. In the final days of his tenure in the White House, President Obama went on to expand the monument by another 48,000 acres.

"The Antiquities Act has become a tool of political advocacy rather than public interest", said Zenke, who added, "This executive order does not remove any monuments or weaken any environmental protections on any public lands".

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.

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