Trump signs executive order requiring review of national monuments

In the past, areas presidents have tagged as "national monuments" were later transformed by Congress into full-fledged National Parks - the Grand Canyon and Death Valley among them. The secretary didn't say whether he would recommend that Bears Ears be shrunk or abolished, only that a review of the designations was long overdue.

The current law grants the president the right to establish a national monument; it doesn't "expressly authorize" a president to abolish a national monument designated by an earlier administration, and no president has done so, the Congressional Research Service said in a report issued past year.

"In December of a year ago alone, the federal government asserted this power over 1.35 million acres of land in Utah, known as Bears Ears - I've heard a lot about Bears Ears, and I hear it's handsome - over the profound objections of the citizens of Utah".

Zinke said that over the past 20 years, the designation of tens of millions of acres as national monuments have limited the lands' use for farming, timber harvesting, mining and oil and gas exploration, and other commercial purposes.

Republicans in Congress have sought to rein in the 110-year-old law that gives presidents the power to establish national monuments without approval from Congress.

"The Executive Order is an important first step to reining in past designations that were pushed through without local input", said NCBA President Craig Uden. But the review covers monument designations on 100,000 acres dating back to 1996.

Environmental groups have criticized Mr. Trump's efforts to reconsider federal land ownership.

"Show me the money", said Ashley Korenblat from Public Land Solutions.

Hatch said in response to Trump's forthcoming order that he is "committed to rolling back the egregious abuse of the Antiquities Act to serve far-left special interests".

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On the other hand, sportsmen groups, conservationists and tribes in some of these same rural areas point to big job gains and tourist revenue where federal land get protection.

The monuments covered under the review will range from the Grand Staircase created by President Bill Clinton in 1996 to the Bears Ears created by Obama in December 2016, both in Utah.

"With this review, the Trump administration has launched an attack on Colorado's heritage and the iconic public lands that are critical to our economy and way of life".

Congressional Republicans have already been seeking to restrict use of the law through legislation that would place time limits on the duration of national monuments and require approval from states or Congress before land can be set aside.

Almost 500,000 acres in five southern New Mexico mountain ranges are included in the Organ Mountains-Desert Peaks National Monument. "The Antiquities Act does not give the federal government unlimited power". Donald Trump, Jr. has also said he is in favor of "refunding" federal lands to keep them out of private control. "It allows us to reconnect back to our culture and lands, because historically, we've just been put on reservations".

"Tremendously positive things are going to happen on that incredible land", the president said of Bears Ears.

Cantwell said Tuesday that Trump's decision to de-list would be "illegal" and faulted Zinke and others for doing the "bidding" for coal and natural resource companies.

Neither the White House nor the Department of Interior have produced a list of monuments that are likely to receive the most scrutiny, but the controversial Bears Ears monument in Utah is widely believed to have triggered the review.

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