National monuments a 'massive federal land grab'

Utah is at the forefront of this debate now, as Trump specifically mentioned the Bears Ears monument, which was set aside as one of the final acts by Obama.

San Gabriel Mountains National Monument, representing more than 70 percent of Los Angeles County's scarce open space.

From the Interior Department, Trump issued a review of an act which have given presidents the power to designate land as national monuments since 1906.

"Less than 24 hours after joining with our industry to celebrate the economic power of outdoor recreation, in a hypocritical move, the Trump administration took unprecedented steps that could result in the removal of protections for treasured public lands", said Rose Marcario, chief executive of outdoor gear retailer Patagonia. In the past few years, we have seen legislation to sell off public lands, reduce law enforcement on public lands, and divest millions of acres of public lands to states that can't afford to manage them.

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. Others have been fiercely contested in Congress and the courts, including designations by Franklin D. Roosevelt (Jackson Hole National Monument, now Grand Teton National Park); Jimmy Carter (vast lands in Alaska); and George W. Bush (Papahanaumokuakea Marine National Monument northwest of Hawaii).

Zinke said he will seek local feedback before making recommendations, adding that reversing a monument designation could be tricky.

The monuments the Trump administration will review include Grand Canyon-Parashant National Monument, Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument and Basin and Range National Monument, as well as a host of Pacific Ocean monuments, including the World War II Valor in the Pacific National Monument.

Zinke said the order would apply only to monuments that are at least 100,000 acres, more than two dozen of which have been established since 1996. The review of the lands has been especially criticized by environmentalists.

"Once you destroy these types of resources, these habitats, these areas that are untouched, you can never go back", he said.

The counterpoint to Mr. Squillace and the many activist groups that share in his opinion, according to documents seen by Reuters, is that past administrations have vastly "overused" the Antiquities Act, thus bringing within its ambit massive chunks of land that were undeserving of protection under the law in the first instance.

"An executive order that undermines national monuments is not only an attack on America's heritage and history, it's an attack on the millions of jobs and hundreds of billions of dollars that depend on our parks, monuments, and other public land", Jennifer Rokala, executive director of the Center for Western Priorities, wrote in an email. But it would also anger conservationists and some Native American groups, who hold certain national monuments sacred.

In what some critics are calling a monumentally short-sighted decision, President Donald Trump on Tuesday signed an executive order calling for a review of national monument designations since 1996.

Republicans in ME, including Gov. Paul LePage, have asked Trump to stop national monument status for Katahdin Woods and Waters National Monument, an expansive piece of land that includes much of the Penobscot River watershed. Trump said the lawmakers lobbied him for the order. Designating millions of acres for scientific observation or sheltering rare species, they contend, is a "federal land grab" that ignores the wishes of local residents, although the lands already belonged to the government or were under federal control. Today, we are putting the states back in charge.

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