Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke launches a four-day listening tour on Sunday to gather input on whether or not to do away with some of former President Barack Obama’s more controversial decisions on expanding national monuments.
The listening tour will begin in Utah at the Bears Ears National Monument and the Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument in launching the four-day effort, the Interior Department announced Friday.
Both of the monuments are under review as ordered by President Trump’s executive order to determine whether to roll back or modify Obama’s decisions.
Interior Department reveals 22 monuments under review
The Interior Department on Friday announced the 22 monuments in 11 states and five marine monuments that it is asking the public to comment on whether the federal land is being put to the best use.
Among the national monuments being reviewed are the Bain and Range in Nevada, Bears Ears in Utah, Berryessa Snow Mountain in California, Canyons of the Ancients in Colorado, Carrizo Plain in California, Cascade Siskiyou in Oregon, Craters of the Moon in Idaho, Giant Sequoia in California, Gold Butte in Nevada, Grand Canyon-Parashant in Arizona, Grand Staircase-Escalante in Utah, Hanford Reach in Washington, Ironwood Forest in Arizona, Mojave Trails in California, Organ-Mountains-Desert Peaks in New Mexico, Rio Grande del Norte in New Mexico, Sand to Snow in California, San Gabriel Mountains in California, Sonoran Desert in Arizona, Upper Missouri River Breaks in Montana and the Vermilion Cliffs in Arizona.
Interior Department Releases List of Monuments Under Review, Announces First-Ever Formal Public Comment Period for Antiquities Act Monuments
The Department of the Interior today announced the first ever formal public comment period for members of the public to officially weigh in on monument designations under the Antiquities Act of 1906, and the Department released a list of monuments under review under the President’s Executive Order 13792, issued April 26, 2017. A public comment period is not required for monument designations under the Antiquities Act; however, Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke and President Trump both strongly believe that local input is a critical component of federal land management.
Comments may be submitted online after May 12 at regulations.gov by entering “DOI-2017-0002” in the Search bar and clicking “Search,” or by mail to Monument Review, MS-1530, U.S. Department of the Interior, 1849 C Street NW, Washington, DC 20240.
New Documentary on the Oregon Protest:
Trump right to challenge outdated Antiquities Act
The irony about the Antiquities Act is that it was only ever intended to preserve small parcels of land in conjunction with a historic or scientific object. The text of the Act imposes two limits. First, the Act limits presidential authority to specific “objects” of historical or scientific interest. Second, it limits the executive’s authority over adjacent land “to the smallest area compatible” with the protection of said object. Indeed, the bill’s sponsor, U.S. Rep. John F. Lacey, rejected out-of-hand — “Certainly not” — the now-prophetic suggestion that the Antiquities Act might be used to tie up “seventy or eighty million acres of land.”
Despite these textual limitations, the Supreme Court has endorsed nearly unfettered presidential discretion under the Antiquities Act. The text cannot be interpreted so capaciously, but since the Court has declined substantively to review any monument designation for size or scope, abuses of the Act continue to go unchecked.
Ranchers applaud President Trump’s review of ‘massive federal land grab’
“The view from the Potomac is a lot different than the view from the Yellowstone or the Colorado,” Zinke said in a press release late last month. “Too many times, you have people in D.C. who have never been to an area, never grazed the land, fished the river, driven the trails, or looked locals in the eye, who are making the decisions and they have zero accountability to the impacted communities. I’m interested in listening to those folks. That’s what my team and I will be doing in the next few months.”
“Any denial of legitimate access is a loss,” she said. “Hunters, outfitters, the guy who owns a little motel where hunters stay… Where you have these areas people cannot access, it is a loss of jobs. It clearly affects those little communities and little towns that rely on those jobs.”
h/t Daniel Higdon