‘Egregious abuse of federal power’: Trump orders review of new nat’l monuments

Wednesday, April 26, 2017
By Paul Martin

26 Apr, 2017

President Donald Trump has directed the Interior Department to review a slew of national monuments, arguing their designations as such over the last two decades was an “abusive” federal land grab. Critics contend the move will destroy sensitive lands.

“Today I’m signing an executive order to end another egregious abuse of federal power and to give that power back to the states and to the people, where it belongs,” Trump said in a signing ceremony at the Department of Interior headquarters. “Today, we are putting the states back in charge. It’s a big thing.”

The order calls on Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke to consider whether monument designations at up to 40 sites should be “rescinded, resized or modified in order to better benefit our public lands.” The 45-day review covers all monument designations over 100,000 acres dating back 21 years.

“The previous administration used a 100-year-old law known as the Antiquities Act to unilaterally put millions of acres of land and water under strict federal control,” Trump said.

“The Antiquities Act does not give the federal government unlimited power to lock up millions of acres of land and water,” he added. “It’s time we ended this abusive practice.”

Zinke said he would seek local feedback before making any recommendations, but noted that lifting or altering any designations would be tricky because such moves would be unprecedented. Previous presidents have tweaked ‒ but not revoked ‒ predecessors’ designations.

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