WASHINGTON — At least two dozen national monuments are at risk of losing their federally protected status as a result of President Trump's executive order asking for an unprecedented review of their designations.
Under the 1906 Antiquities Act, either Congress or the President can protect federal lands by designating them as a national monument. And while Congress has occasionally revoked that status for existing monuments, no president ever has. Trump's order opens the door to that possibility.
Watch his speech and signing in the Facebook link here.
President Trump national monuments speech
After a speech, President Trump is expected to sign an executive order calling for a review of all national monuments designated since 1996. It's expected to be precursor to eliminating many of them. Story: http://on.kgw.com/2pzq2PTPosted by KGW-TV on Wednesday, April 26, 2017
Trump is targeting all or part of monuments that make up 100,000 acres or more, and were created by presidential proclamation since 1996. The White House released a list of 24 of them on Wednesday. They are:
► Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument in Utah, proclaimed by President Clinton in 1996. (1.7 million acres).
► Grand Canyon-Parashant National Monument in Arizona, proclaimed by Clinton in 2000 (1 million acres).
► Giant Sequoia National Monument in California, proclaimed by Clinton in 2000 (327,769 acres).
► Vermilion Cliffs National Monument in Arizona, proclaimed by Clinton in 2000 (279,568 acres).
► Hanford Reach National Monument in Washington, proclaimed by Clinton in 2000 (194,450 acres).
► Canyons of the Ancients National Monument in Colorado, proclaimed by Clinton in 2000 (175,160 acres).
► Ironwood Forest National Monument in Arizona, proclaimed by Clinton in 2000 (128,917 acres).
► Sonoran Desert National Monument in Arizona, proclaimed by Clinton in 2001 (486,149 acres).
► Upper Missouri River Breaks National Monument in Montana, proclaimed by Clinton in 2001 (377,346 acres).
► Carrizo Plain National Monument in California, proclaimed by Clinton in 2001 (204,107 acres).
► Papahanaumokuakea Marine National Monument in the Pacific Ocean, proclaimed by President George W. Bush in 2006 and expanded by President Barack Obama in 2016, (89.6 million acres).
► World War II Valor in the Pacific National Monument in California, Hawaii and Alaska, proclaimed by Bush in 2008 (4 million acres).
► Marianas Trench Marine National Monument in the Pacific Ocean, proclaimed by Bush in 2009 (60.9 million acres).
► Pacific Remote Islands Marine National Monument in the Pacific Ocean, proclaimed by Bush in 2009 and enlarged by Obama in 2014. (55.6 million acres).
► Rose Atoll Marine National Monument in American Samoa, proclaimed by Bush in 2009 (8.6 million acres).
► Rio Grande del Norte National Monument in New Mexico, proclaimed by Obama in 2013. (242,555 acres).
► Organ Mountains-Desert Peaks National Monument in New Mexico, proclaimed by Obama in 2014 (496,330 acres).
► Basin and Range National Monument in Nevada, proclaimed by Obama in 2015 (703,585 acres).
► Berryessa Snow Mountain in California, proclaimed by Obama in 2015 (330,780 acres).
► Northeast Canyons & Seamounts Marine National Monument in the Atlantic Ocean, proclaimed by Obama in 2016 (3.1 million acres).
► Mojave Trails National Monument in California, proclaimed by Obama in 2016 (1.6 million acres).
► Bears Ears National Monument in Utah, proclaimed by Obama in 2016 (1.4 million acres).
► Gold Butte National Monument in Nevada, proclaimed by Obama in 2016 (296,937 acres).
► Sand to Snow National Monument in California, proclaimed by Obama in 2016 (154,000 acres).
Trump signed an executive order Wednesday calling into question the future of dozens of national monuments proclaimed by the last three presidents to set aside millions of acres from development.
In asking Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke for an unprecedented review of national monuments, Trump may force a question never before tested in the 111-year history of the Antiquities Act: Whether one president can nullify a previous president's proclamation establishing a national monument.
Trump's executive order takes aim at 21 years of proclamations beginning in 1996. That time frame encompasses the "bookends" of two of the most controversial national monument designations in recent history: President Clinton's Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument in 1996 to President Obama's Bears Ears National Monument in 2016. Both are in Utah, and faced opposition from the congressional delegation and state officials.
Zinke was careful Tuesday to say there's no predetermined outcome to his review. "Here’s what the executive order does not do: The executive order does not strip any monument of a designation. The executive order does not loosen any environmental or conservation regulation on any land or marine areas," he said. "It is a review of the last 20 years."
But that review could lead to a recommendation that Trump rescind, resize or modify existing national monuments, and conservation groups say the order endangers monuments that should be permanently protected because of their beauty, wildlife and vulnerability.
"This review is a first step towards monument rollbacks, which we will fight all the way," said Rhea Suh, president of the Natural Resources Defense Council. "These public lands belong to all of us."
But Zinke said past designations have too often excluded the people most directly affected by the designations. "The local community, the loggers, the fishermen, those areas that are affected should have a say and a voice," he said.
Unlike a national park, which must be established by Congress, presidents can establish a national monument by simple proclamation.
Once established, no president has ever revoked a national monument proclamation — but Congress has taken action to abolish 11 monuments throughout history.
And many more have been modified.
"There's no doubt the president has the authority to amend a monument," Zinke said at his confirmation hearing. "It will be interesting to see whether the president has the authority to nullify a monument. 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 executive order asks for Zinke to review monuments designated over the past 21 years and provide a report within 120 days. But the report makes a special case for the Bears Ears monument — one of Obama's last official acts in office — by asking for an interim report in 45 days.
The review applies only to national monuments of 100,000 acres or more, and so would exempt many of the smaller monuments proclaimed by Obama for their cultural or historical significance. More than any other president, Obama used the Antiquities Act to recognize sites that "reflect the full story of our country" — including monuments important to the gay rights movement, Latinos, labor unions, African Americans, Japanese Americans, and women.