Published: Fri, April 28, 2017
U.S. | By Eddie Scott

National Monuments President Trump Wants to Shut Down

National Monuments President Trump Wants to Shut Down

President Donald Trump signed an executive order Wednesday directing his interior secretary to review the designation of dozens of national monuments on federal lands, calling the protection efforts "a massive federal land grab" by previous administrations.

"A president does not have the authority to rescind a national monument".

"I am signing a new executive order to end another egregious abuse of federal power and to give that power back to the states and to the people, where it belongs", Trump said.

Monument proponent Lucas St. Clair said that Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke told him Wednesday night following a board meeting of the Theodore Roosevelt Conservation Partnership that Katahdin Woods would not be reviewed. The monuments under review range from President Bill Clinton's designation in 1996 of the Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument in Utah to most recently, President Barack Obama's designation a year ago of the Bears Ears National Monument, also in Utah.

Republicans in the state asked Trump to take the unusual step of reversing Obama's decision.

Sen. Richard Blumenthal, who helped to secure the monument designation for the New England Coral Canyons and Seamounts, said Trump's review was "a first step towards the desecration of our most precious national treasures". The monuments to be reviewed were all established under sitting USA presidents under the Antiquities Act of 1906.

He argued that in some cases, the designation of the national monuments may have resulted in loss of jobs, but when pressed, he didn't list any specific communities that lost jobs as a result of the monuments.

Conservationists blasted the Trump administration's unprecedented move to scale back national monuments, and promised legal challenges. While Trump himself can't remove the designation from lands, he could resize their boundaries without congressional approval. "Today's executive order signifies a shift in power from the federal government to the local communities who support these monuments and deserve to have a voice in the process".

AMA believes certain monument designations "restrict or eliminate opportunities for responsible off-highway motorized recreation..."

Among the Arizona national monuments included in the review: Vermillion Cliffs and Ironwood Forest National Monuments.

Zinke was directed to produce an interim report in 45 days and make a recommendation on Bears Ears, and then issue a final report within 120 days.

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