Trump administration to review dozens of US national monuments

Carrizo Plain was declared a national monument in 2001 under the Antiquities Act a decision now under review by the Trump administration

On Wednesday, Trump is expected to sign an executive order demanding the Department of the Interior review all national monument designations from the last two decades.

The move is largely seen as a response by the new administration to two controversial, sweeping national monument designations made late in the Obama administration: the new Bears Ears National Monument in Utah considered sacred to Native American tribes and the Gold Butte National Monument in Nevada near the Bundy Ranch, site of the 2014 armed standoff over cattle grazing on public land. Signed at the behest of anti-public lands members of Congress - the Utah delegation in particular - Trump's order will undoubtedly set into motion a slow-moving assault on existing national monuments and one of our most important and beloved conservation tools: the Antiquities Act.

Republicans have chafed for years over recent Democratic presidents' use of the 1906 Antiquities Act to unilaterally protect federal lands and waters.

"Bears Ears and other national monuments were designated after significant community input because they are a critical part of our national heritage and have exceptional ecological characteristics worth protecting for future generations", Marcario said.

Speaking at an an Outdoor Industry Association event Tuesday, Zinke said the department's employees sometimes appear "too heavy-handed" in the name of law enforcement on public lands.

The details of the order were not immediately known Monday, but during a speech on the Senate floor Republican Orrin Hatch of Utah described it as "reining in the abuse of authority under the Antiquities Act". Gary Herbert also says he's invited Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke and President Trump to visit the Bears Ears monument. We can go ahead and take a defensive stance and say we don't want it. Secretary Jewell spent three days last July listening to hundreds of local voices, as she was evaluating the need for monument designation.

This includes Bears Ears and Grand Staircase-Escalante in southern Utah.

At the onset of the Antiquities Act use in the early 1900s, Zinke said new monuments were about 422 acres, while today's monuments often comprise millions of acres.

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While the Stonewall National Monument, designated as such in June 24, 2016, the first to honor the LGBTQ rights struggle, was not named by the official as a concern.

But ahead of Zinke's briefing, conservation advocates panned the Trump administration's planned review of monuments as a secretive effort to all but turn over now protected lands to the fossil fuel industry and other interests.

According to the paper the review will "discern whether [the monuments] are within the law's intent". EOG Resources, a Texas-based company, was recently approved to drill near Bears Ears.

Hatch's opponents argue that withholding funds or rescinding the Antiquities Act order would impact San Juan County, Utah, where more than 28% of the population lives below the poverty level.

"With this review, Trump is declaring war on America's public lands", Suckling said. Pingree said today,"Many people who were originally opposed to the designation have come around after seeing the economic benefits for their communities".

Republicans in both states decried the designations as a federal overreach, taking away access to commercial interests like cattle grazing and mineral development.

Activity on America's public lands is a major sector of the country's economy, providing millions of jobs and billions in tax revenue.

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