By executive order, President Trump directed the Department of Interior to review national monuments designated since 1996 under the Antiquities Act of 1906. The Antiquities Act grants the President authority to designate “historic landmarks, historic and prehistoric structures, and other objects of historic or scientific interest” on federal lands as national monuments. There are currently more than 125 national monuments, the vast majority of which are managed by the Department of the Interior.
The Presidential Executive Order on the Review of Designations Under the Antiquities Act recognizes that monument designations have a substantial impact on the management of Federal lands, the use and enjoyment of neighboring lands, and the economic growth of surrounding communities. In particular, the Executive Order recognizes “[m]onument designations that result from a lack of public outreach and proper coordination with State, tribal, and local officials and other relevant stakeholders may also create barriers to achieving energy independence, restrict public access to and use of Federal lands, burden State, tribal, and local governments, and otherwise curtail economic growth.”
The Executive Order directs Secretary of the Interior, Ryan Zinke, to review all Presidential designations or expansions of designations under the Antiquities Act made since January 1, 1996, where:
- the designation, or total designation after expansion, exceeds 100,000 acres; or
- where the Secretary determines that the designation or expansion was made without adequate public outreach and coordination with relevant stakeholders.
The purpose of Secretary Zinke’s review is to determine whether the designation or expansion strikes the appropriate balance between protecting national landmarks, the appropriate use of Federal lands, and the effects on surrounding lands and local communities.
The Executive Order directs Secretary Zinke to consult with State, tribal and local governments affected by the monument designations during the review. An interim report by the Secretary to the President specifically addressing Bear Ears National Monument in Utah and any other national monument the Secretary deems appropriate for inclusion is due within 45 days of the date of the Executive Order. A final report must be submitted within 120 days of the date of the Executive Order.
Approximately 25 currently designated monuments are potentially impacted based on acreage alone. The vast majority are in the western continental United States. National monuments potentially impacted in California, Arizona and Utah include:
|Mojave Trails National Monument||1,600,000|
|San Gabriel Mountains National Monument||346,177|
|Berryessa Snow Mountain National Monument||330,780|
|Giant Sequoia National Monument||327,769|
|Carrizo Plain National Monument||204,107|
|Sand to Snow National Monument||154,000|
|Grand Canyon-Parashant National Monument||1,014,000|
|Sonoran Desert National Monument||486,149|
|Vermilion Cliffs National Monument||279,568|
|Ironwood Forest National Monument||128,917|
|Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument||1,700,000|
|Bear Ears National Monument||1,353,000|
States, localities, and other persons affected by the national monument designations should begin considering the impacts of the designations and consider contacting the Department of Interior regarding those impacts.