Trump Reverses Obama Monument Protections, But Could Black Sites Be Affected?

Giant Sequoia National Monument is nestled in Sequoia National Park, and its designation protects it from logging except in cases of public safety and protecting the species.

President Donald Trump's sweeping review of more than two decades' worth national monument designations includes a unique undersea area 150 miles off the New England coast that CT lawmakers fought to preserve previous year. Those against Obama's designation (like Utah Governor Gary Herbert, Representatives Jason Chaffetz and Chris Stewart, and Senator Hatch) argue presidential overreach, and have asked the Trump administration to reverse the designation and hold funds. "While designating monuments is a noble goal, this law, like many others, has strayed far from its original objective", said Speaker Paul Ryan.

The 1993 siege by federal agents of the Branch Davidian sect near Waco, Texas, which killed 76 people; the siege a year earlier at Ruby Ridge in Idaho; and even the Oklahoma City bombing that killed 168 people in 1995 all had their roots in rightist militants upset over alleged federal intrusion on land use.

Last month Trump had also declared the end of a "war on coal" as he signed an "energy independence" executive order to review some of Obama's climate legacy, declaring an end to "job-killing regulations".

The local monument, spanning 100 miles from the Lake Berryessa area to Snow Mountain in the Mendocino National Forest, features trails, waterfalls, lakes, whitewater rapids and stunning vistas that include Sacramento in the distance.


But Patagonia's CEO called Trump's order "hypocritical" and "unprecedented". "This massive federal land grab; it's gotten worse and worse".

Since it went into effect in 1906, the Antiquities Act has been used by 16 of the last 19 presidents "to protect some of our country's most special places".

Obama infuriated Utah Republicans when he created the Bears Ears National Monument in late December on more than 1 million acres of land that's sacred to Native Americans and home to tens of thousands of archaeological sites, including ancient cliff dwellings.

The oldest monument on the list, President Bill Clinton created the monument in southern Utah in 1996 by signing a declaration at the south rim of the Grand Canyon in Arizona.

Former President Barack Obama expanded the Papahanaumokuakea in 2016 and the Pacific Remote Islands Marine National Monument in 2014.


"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. Zinke said during a conference call with reporters on Tuesday that the review "doesn't presuppose any action".

While Trump didn't specify how the Interior Department will implement the review, Zinke said during the briefing that the review of the first monument, Bears Ears, will be based on discussions with lawmakers and local stakeholders and will create a plan for reviewing all other monuments on the docket. Ben Bishop, R-Utah, the president and Sen.

While Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke, who will head the review, said that he doesn't want to pre-judge the outcome of the review, the president's comments seemed to suggest that in the end, monuments may be trimmed or rescinded.

"If this sweeping review is an excuse to cut out the public and scale back protections, I think this president is going to find a very resistant public", Heinrich said.



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