Donald Trump is threatening to destroy the precious federal lands designations implemented over the past two decades, which no president has ever done. A century-old law gave presidents the right to unilaterally revoke National Monuments.
Environmental groups worried that 45 ignored President Barack Obama’s reason for using the 1906 Antiquities Act to preserve the 1.35 million acres of Utah’s Bears Ears. President Bill Clinton designated the 1.9 million acres Grand Staircase in 1996.
Republican Senator Orrin Hatch of Utah urged Trump to act on Bears Ears, and released a statement Sunday. According to The Salt Lake Tribune, it read:
‘For years, I have fought every step of the way to ensure that our lands are managed by the Utahns [who] know them best and cherish them deeply. That’s why I’m committed to rolling back the egregious abuse of the Antiquities Act to serve far-left special interests. As part of this commitment, I have leveraged all of my influence — from private meetings in the Oval Office in the president’s first week in office to my latest trip to Bears Ears this week — to ensure that this issue is a priority on the president’s agenda.’
A senior White House official told The Salt Lake Tribune, the new president plans to sign an executive order Wednesday forcing the Secretary of the Interior to evaluate all national monument designations, particularly President Obama’s selections. Trump wants to know if they fit within the size and scope of what the law intended.
Legislative director of the Southern Utah Wilderness Alliance Jen Ujifusa told The Salt Lake Tribune:
‘Utah’s national monuments are our first line of defense against the very real specter of climate change, providing resiliency to not only the species within them, but also to nearby communities. President Trump and the Utah delegation should focus their energies on solving America’s challenges, rather than unraveling the solutions that are already working.’
Executive director of the Friends of Cedar Mesa Josh Ewing said his organization and an American Indian tribal coalition pushed for the monument declaration. He told The Salt Lake Tribune said:
‘I would look forward to a serious review of Bears Ears by the secretary and by the Interior [Department]. I think the conclusion they would come to, if they really look at the international significance of this place, is they would come to the same conclusion that [former Interior] Secretary [Sally] Jewell did after spending five days on the ground and a huge public meeting — which is that this place deserves to be protected and the only practical way to protect it is the Antiquities At. So I would welcome a review as long as it is a serious one where they spend time on the ground and look at the resources and look at the data.’
Featured Image: Free Range Report’s Twitter Page.