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National monuments a 'massive federal land grab'

11 May 2017

He singled out Obama for using the monument designation to assert federal control over 265 million acres (107 million hectares), including maritime zones, particularly in the Pacific.

The president accused his predecessor of abusing the Antiquities Act of 1906, which authorizes the president to declare federal lands as monuments and restrict how the lands can be used.

This Executive Order gives rural communities across America a voice and restores land use planning by directing the Secretary of the Interior to consult and coordinate with the Governors of States affected by monument designations or other relevant officials of affected State, Tribal, and local governments. Trump's action may be best understood as a rhetorical gesture, like saying Mexico will pay for a border wall: The president's supporters will cheer, but nothing will happen.

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Signing the executive order at the Department of the Interior Wednesday, Trump called President Barack Obama's creation of national monuments an "egregious abuse use of power". Rescinding or altering a national monument designation would be new ground for the government, he said. A report is expected within 45 days, focusing on the Bears Ears National Monument in Utah enacted by Obama a year ago, with the full report due in 120 days. These designations, critics argue, hinder American enterprise from exploiting potentially valuable land resources.

Unlike a national park, which must be established by Congress, presidents can establish a national monument by simple proclamation.

On Friday, before the close of Trump's first 100 days in office, he is expected to sign an executive order that would review offshore areas available for offshore oil and gas exploration that have been restricted by previous presidents. Obama's designation of New Mexico's Rio Grande del Norte National Monument and Organ Mountains-Desert Peaks National Monument have preserved important lands while boosting the economy, Heinrich said, adding that similar results have been seen across the country.

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This Executive Order does NOT strip any monument of a designation. The monuments under review range from President Bill Clinton's designation in 1996 of the Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument in Utah to most recently, President Barack Obama's designation past year of the Bears Ears National Monument, also in Utah.

The livestock industry, which supports numerous western communities, stands ready to work with the administration and assist in their review of designations and calls on Congress to pass Sen.

While there's a legal argument about whether Trump could rescind Obama's set aside, Zinke said this administration could shrink the area protected from mining, drilling or development. The order seeks to reduce or eliminate multiple national monuments across the United States, potentially eliminating public access and water and land protection safeguards.

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National monuments a 'massive federal land grab'