President Trump signs Executive Order to review possible abuses of Antiquities Act
10 May, 2017, 03:31 | Author: Abel Ruiz
"The law is clear-only Congress has the authority to erase or modify national monuments, and Congress has wisely used that power sparingly over the last hundred years", CWP said in a statement.
But the order still concerns conservation groups like the Montana Wilderness Association. Each invoked the Antiquities Act of 1906, which was signed into law by President Theodore Roosevelt. The Antiquities Act gave the power to presidents to establish any landmarks, structures and other "objects of historic or scientific interest" as land owned and controlled by the federal government.
On the eve of the signing of the order, Ryan Zinke, secretary of the Interior, said the order will direct him to review prior monument designations and to suggest legislative changes or modifications to the monuments.
Joined eight Western Democratic senators in a letter calling on President Trump to live up to promises made on the campaign trail to protect public lands for all Americans by upholding the existing protections for the 157 national monuments.
The Pew Charitable Trust is a global non-government organization with the goal of improving public policy through analysis, informing the public through data that identifies issues and trends, and encourage democratic participation and strong communities, according to its website.
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President Donald Trump may be opening a can of worms in his order to review the national monuments established by prior presidents. Obama designated the 1.3-million-acre land as a national monument in December 2016. Our national monuments protect our uniquely American heritage and we stand with the overwhelming majority of our fellow Americans in defending them from efforts to undermine protections for parks and monuments.
President Trump's executive order targets all areas that span at least 100,000 acres, many of which were designated as national monuments by former Presidents Barack Obama, Bill Clinton and George W. Bush, the Washington Post reports.
During the conference, Trump accused the Obama administration of using the Antiquities Act to "unilaterally put millions of acres of land and water under strict federal control" - a practice Trump derided as "a massive federal land grab". Numerous recent monuments were already land owned by the government but were changed to monuments, affecting how the land can be used for things like livestock grazing.
Zinke said he will review the Bears Ears monument first and make a recommendation to the president in 45 days. Says Gaziano, "We think the ground is very strong for a president to revoke".
Dave Eliason, PLC president, said while the Act was meant to preserve Native American artifacts and areas of historical importance, Presidents have instead used the Act to bypass Congress and local communities to place heavy restrictions on massive swaths of land.
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