What does Trump's order to review national monuments mean?

What does Trump's order to review national monuments mean?

Trump called the designation of national monuments by the Obama administration an "egregious abuse of federal power" and a "massive federal land grab".

The goal is to determine whether the designation or expansion was made "in accordance with the requirements and original objectives" of the act and balances "the protection of landmarks, structures, and objects against the appropriate use of Federal lands and the effects on surrounding lands and communities".

"Today, we're putting the states back in charge", Trump said, as he signed the order at the Department of the Interior.

In the final weeks of his tenure, the former president designated offshore oil and natural gas drilling in parts of the Arctic and Atlantic regions "indefinitely off limits", stressing their "critical and irreplaceable ecological value". Absent any court guidance, the most instructive opinion dates from 1938, when President Franklin Roosevelt weighed whether to remove the monument status of a neglected Civil War fort in SC. The Grand Staircase Escalante National Monument in southern Utah is also up for review.

Wednesday's executive order won't have an immediate effect - it simply called for Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke to review monuments designated in the last 21 years, which Zinke said were designated without input from affected communities. Under the Antiquities Act, presidents from Teddy Roosevelt to Barack Obama have established 24 national monuments, including the Grand Canyon-Parashant National Monument, Basin and Range National Monument and the World War II Valor in the Pacific National Monument.

However, a president does not now have the right to abolish a monument.

What does Trump's order to review national monuments mean?
What does Trump's order to review national monuments mean?

The outdoor clothing company, Patagonia, has been quick to speak out on the matter, condemning Trump and even threatening to take legal action over the issue.

Opinion surveys show national parks and monuments are highly popular with the American public.

"Tremendously positive things are going to happen on that incredible land", the president said of Bears Ears. "In his first 100 days in office Trump is determined to turn our public lands and waters into energy sacrifice zones. While designating monuments is a noble goal, this law, like many others, has strayed far from its original objective", said Speaker Paul Ryan.

Since the Act came into force more than a century ago, only three presidents - all Republicans - did not use its powers: Richard Nixon, Ronald Reagan, and George H.W. Bush.

On behalf of the 450 undersigned organizations and our millions of members across the country, we are writing to express our deep concern with your recent Executive Orders and our unified opposition to any efforts to remove or decrease protections for any national monuments. These monuments, they argue, are invaluable national treasures that need to be protected from development and destructive resource extraction.

National monuments are historic sites or geographic areas - like Bears Ears National Monument in Utah or Katahdin Woods and Waters National Monument in ME - that have been granted special federal protections.

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