In over a century, no president has attempted to reshape national monuments in the way Trump is attempting to do. "Once we have a final report, in the coming weeks, we will make it public". The Center for Western Priorities found in one study that only 1 percent of comments submitted in 60-day public comment period on the review supported shrinking the size of monuments or revoking their status.
The review, Zinke says, is an attempt to give the public a voice in the designations, which require no public comment and no congressional approval.
After examining the monuments established by Bill Clinton (1993-2001), George W. Bush (2001-2009), and Barack Obama (2009-2017), Zinke is also lobbying to allow some activities in some of those areas where those former presidents flatly restricted or banned.
Conservation safeguards on a "handful" of national monuments across the U.S. could be rolled back following the delivery on Thursday of the White House's long-awaited review of such public lands, interior secretary Ryan Zinke said.
Two Utah monuments were under review by Zinke, Bears Ears and Grand Staircase-Escalante. He told the Associated Press Thursday he's not suggesting eliminating any monuments. While Congress can alter national monuments easily through legislation, presidents have reduced their boundaries only on rare occasions.
A spokesman for the family that donated land used to create the Katahdin Woods and Waters National Monument in ME says he's pleased by a recommendation to retain the federal land status. "That narrative is patently false and shameful".
The unprecedented review set off controversy in communities from coast to coast, the latest chapter in America's long history of tension over public lands and private rights.
The Antiquities Act is the first law to establish that archeological sites on public lands are important public resources. Several are about the size of the state of DE, including Mojave Trails in California, and Utah's Grand-Staircase Escalante National Monument and Bears Ears, which is on sacred tribal land. "However, having conducted the review". He said that the Obama-designated Bears Ears National Monument in Utah should be downsized, despite widespread public opposition to such a plan.
"Protecting federal land doesn't mean not using it", he added from his home in the mountains of Colorado. While Navajo people in the region strongly support the protection of the area, which has historical and religious significance to their culture, opponents argue that it will prevent local economic development from uranium mining and oil and gas development. Zinke's report, says The Washington Post, "launches what will be a legal and political battle over a relatively obscure law that grants a president wide latitude in preserving federal lands and waters that are threatened".
But Land Tawney, president and CEO of Backcountry Hunters and Anglers, described any kind of reduction of national monument as an attack on all. That monument has also been a controversial flashpoint between logging interests, locals and environmentalists.
After four months of consideration, the Department of the Interior released a draft of its recommendations on whether 27 national monuments should retain their protected designation yesterday (August 24).
"It's important to ask, 'Was this a designation that was true to the definition under the Antiquities Act that it's the smallest reasonable area created to provide for the protection?'" she said. While a few presidents have shrunk predecessors' monuments - Woodrow Wilson did, for example - those moves weren't challenged in the courts.