National monuments a 'massive federal land grab'

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. An attempt to change the boundaries ignores the review process of cultural and historical characteristics and the public input.

Utah's lawmakers, including the governor and the congressional delegation, had lobbied Trump to overturn President Barack Obama's controversial creation of Bear Ears National Monument, a 1.3 million-acre site in the Beehive State.

Zinke said the outcome of the review was not pre-ordained.

President Donald Trump is expected to sign an executive order Wednesday that could threaten the status of the Hanford Reach National Monument.

He signed an executive order Wednesday, ordering the Department of the Interior to review monument designations made in the past 21 years that are at least 100,000 acres.




The monuments have been widely praised by the outdoors industry, environmental groups and Native American tribes that have inhabited the area for thousands of years and consider many parts of it sacred _ all of whom were quick Tuesday to criticize the executive order. He will sign an executive order, erasing many of former Pr... "We must fight them every step of the way".

Though "by and large", Zinke said, he feels the designations have done "a great service to the public", he said he worries about overuse and overreach. "The local community, the loggers, the fishermen, those areas that are affected should have a say and a voice", he said. Numerous bills on the issue were introduced in the previous session, including measures to prevent the president from establishing or expanding monuments in particular states and to require consent of Congress or state legislatures. The law, signed by President Theodore Roosevelt to reduce looting and theft of pottery and other artifacts in New Mexico and other areas, gives presidents the power to protect "historic landmarks, historic and prehistoric structures, and other objects of historic or scientific interest" as national monuments by proclamation.

Democratic Congressman Raul Grijalva of Arizona, ranking member of the House natural resources committee, warned Zinke not to make an "ideological" decision, adding that previous monuments were done "after years of close federal consultation with multiple local stakeholders".

The Columbia River remains the biggest draw of the monument, with boats thick on the water from Vernita to the White Bluffs during fishing season. "Legally, it's untested. I would think that (if) the president would nullify a monument, it would be challenged and then the court would determine whether or not the legal framework allows it or not".

"The way that the Antiquities Act is structured, it essentially authorizes the president to proclaim, but not to modify or revoke, national monuments", Mark Squillace, a law professor at the University of Colorado and an expert on the Antiquities Act, told NPR in February. Utah Representative Rob Bishop spoke staunchly against the designation of Bear Ears National Monument in February. While the executive order will ask for a report by Secretary of Interior Ryan Zinke within 120 days, the order would ask for a specific report regarding Bears Ears within 45 days. "While designating monuments is a noble goal, this law, like many others, has strayed far from its original objective", House Speaker Paul Ryan said in response to the review.

(Copyright © 2015. All Rights Reserved.)
 
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