President Trump just signed an executive order that threatens millions of acres of public land. The order seeks to reduce or eliminate multiple national monuments across the US, potentially eliminating public access and water and land protection safeguards. It’s an unprecedented (unpresidented?) move that will likely be challenged in courts.
The executive order wouldn’t eliminate the national monuments just yet, since the President doesn’t have the power to do that. Instead, it orders a review of any existing monuments (which Presidents have the power to create under the 1906 Antiquities Act) designated in the past 21 years that are over 100,000 acres in size. The Department of the Interior will review monuments and determine which it recommends changing.
21 years might seem like an arbitrary timeline, but the executive order is aimed directly at the newly-designated Bear’s Ears Monument and the Grand Staircase-Escalante Monument, designated by President Clinton 21 years ago. Republicans called the designations an over-reach of federal power and have been fighting to have the monuments eliminated ever since.
Polls show that a vast majority of Americans support maintaining or adding more public and protected lands in the US rather than reducing them. The legal battle will likely begin after the Department of the Interior makes its determination.
Via The Verge
images via The Bureau of Land Management