Protections for 27 national monuments may be curtailed, cut

Lauren Perry
May 7, 2017

The list was released by the Interior Department, charged by Trump just nine days earlier through an executive order to review the land designated by presidents over the past 20 years, in what Trump has called a "massive federal land grab" that "should never have happened".

A list of 27 national monuments has been assembled as the Interior Department reviews possible changes to the protections created by Republican and Democratic presidents over the past two decades.

Remember President Donald Trump's executive order on reviewing national monuments? The Antiquities Act does not give the president explicit power to undo a designation and no president has ever taken such a step. "Part of being a good steward is being a good neighbor and listening to the American people who we represent", said Secretary Zinke.

Environmentalists were quick to condemn the government's review of the monument.

The Department of the Interior will accept comments about the designation until May 12. Monument status, on the other hand, has driven more tourism to the sites, he said.

Katahdin Woods is the only national monument on the list being reviewed to determine whether the designation was made without adequate public outreach.

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The Bears Ears monument designation is composed of a parcel of land larger than DE or Rhode Island, he noted, which is not how the Antiquities Act was intended.

President Calvin Coolidge designated the lava fields and formations a national monument in 1924, but in 2000 Clinton vastly expanded the size of it, to 753,000 acres.

Trump's order also targets the Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument in Utah, created by Clinton in 1996, and Katahdin Woods and Waters in ME, created a year ago by Obama. It was initially unclear whether the Cascade-Siskiyou National Monument was up for review.

Leaders and members of the Bears Ears Inter-Tribal Coalition, along with environmental groups and conservation organizations, pushed for the creation of a 1.9 million-acre monument to protect lands and artifacts they say are sacred.

Noyes said he expects "hundreds, if not thousands of supporters" to show up around Bears Ears to meet with Zinke, a sizable number considering Blanding, population 3,668, is the biggest town near the monument.

One commissioner, Phil Lyman, had previously led an ATV ride through protected canyons to protest federal control of public land. "There is no pre-determined outcome on any monument", said Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke in a statement.

Other reports by VgToday

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