Published: Fri, April 28, 2017
Hi-Tech | By Ellis Neal

One Montana national monument affected by Trump's executive order

One Montana national monument affected by Trump's executive order

"Public lands should remain in public hands".

Trump accused the administration of former President Barack Obama of using the Antiquities Act to "unilaterally put millions of acres of land and water under strict federal control".

But others are arguing that Trump's order is the thing that should have never happened.

President Donald Trump on Wednesday issued an executive order calling for a review of national monuments 100,000 acres or larger created since January 1 1996. "Normally, when you do a land use project, we normally NEPA".

"Today, we are giving power back to the states and people where it belongs", Trump said in signing the executive order at the Interior Department headquarters in Washington, D.C.

He'll provide an interim report in 45 days in which he'll provide a recommendation on Bears Ears and a final report within 120 days.

In comments before the signing, Zinke said the order would not remove any monuments and would not weaken any environmental protections on any lands.

Trump directed his interior secretary on Wednesday to review all national monuments of 100,000 acres or more that were created since 1996.

"Altogether, the previous administration bypassed the states to place over 265 million acres - that's a lot of land, million acres", Trump said.

Cynthia Wilson, the traditional foods program director of Utah Diné Bikéyah, a nonprofit dedicated to supporting indigenous peoples and the environment, called Trump's order "an attack on Native Americans" and their heritage in Utah. "Under the President's leadership, I will work with local, state and Tribal governments to review monument designations made (in) the past 20 years and make sure they work for the local communities".

And there are likely to be legal challenges.

The Birmingham national monument covers just 18.25 acres and includes the 16th Street Baptist Church, A. G. Gaston Motel, the Birmingham Civil Rights Institute, Bethel Baptist Church, Kelly Ingram Park, the Colored Masonic Temple, St. Paul United Methodist Church and parts of the 4th Avenue Business District.

Utah lawmakers oppose the Obama action and have lobbied Mr Trump since his November election to overturn it. Jason Chaffetz and Chris Stewart in Washington, along with Sen.

Mining companies have also been eager for a decision.

The area lies near where EOG Resources - a Texas-based company - had been approved to drill. And activists are anxious that the area, which is rich in natural resources, could be offered up to oil companies if it is de-listed. "The Antiquities Act protected Bears Ears in Utah, adjacent to Canyonlands and other beloved national park sites, helping to prevent looting of significant cultural resources and preserving its sacred lands and iconic canyon country". The Arizona monuments on the list are the Grand Canyon-Parashant, Vermillion Cliffs, Ironwood Forest, and Sonoran Desert National Monuments, all established by President Bill Clinton under the 1906 Antiquities Act.

Bears Ears is not the only site that has experienced a push to give up federal protection.

Trump and Pence denounced monuments of the past two decades as egregious abuses of federal authority.

The Navajo Nation said lands around Bears Ears hold important historical and cultural artifacts for tribes in the area. "He's going to be the one who decides whether what they did was appropriate or not", says Hedden.

"Believe me, he's tough", the president said.

Many recreationalists said they are not happy about the order. Secretary Zinke has said as much.

But Trump isn't the only Republican who expressed this view: Zinke also told senators during his confirmation process that he was against giving public lands back to the states.

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