Senator Mike Lee of Utah supports President Donald Trump’s efforts to reverse Bears Ears National Monument, once a public land but designated a monument shortly before the new year by Barack Obama by executive order (what else?) as designated by the 1906 Antiquities Act. Obama’s land grabs were an abuse of power.
The Daily Signal by Senator Mike Lee
During the Christmas season last year, the Obama administration ignored the majority of Utahans by designating a vast tract of land in southern Utah as a national monument.
Last week, the Department of the Interior took a welcome step toward reversing this executive abuse and returning to a legislative solution.
President Barack Obama used the 1906 Antiquities Act, written to protect “objects of historic or scientific interest,” to transform 1.3 million acres in San Juan County into the Bears Ears National Monument.
There is no doubt that specific sites within the new monument demonstrate historic, scientific, as well as cultural and spiritual significance. Native American tribes believe the area is sacred. And every citizen can appreciate the natural beauty of the sandstone buttes that gave the area its name.
However, the Antiquities Act is very clear that monument designations should be limited to “the smallest area compatible with the proper care and management of the objects to be protected.”
Presidents have ignored this important qualifier in the past, locking up millions of acres that could be managed as multiple-use.
In most cases, these expansive monuments have drawn support not from local citizens, but from outside interest groups who may not have locals’ best interests at heart, including outdoor recreation corporations and environmental activists who oppose new development.
Unsurprisingly, these unilateral monument designations have been resented by locals who sensed they were being stripped of control over their homes[…]
[Permission to republish granted by the Heritage Foundation.]
Below is the number of national monuments added and eliminated by past U. S. presidents as designated under The Antiquities Act from Theodore Roosevelt to Barack Obama.
It is obvious that Obama’s unparalleled land grabs were an abuse of law.
Americans affected by federal government land grabs dating back to 1996 are going to have their say.
WASHINGTON – U.S. Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke submitted a 45-day interim report on Bears Ears National Monument to President Donald J. Trump on Saturday, June 10, 2017, in accordance with the April 26, 2017, Executive Order (EO). The order directs the Secretary to review monuments designated under the Antiquities Act between January 1, 1996, and the present date that are 100,000 acres or more in size, or any monument the Secretary deems to have been created without appropriate public input. The EO also directs the Secretary to submit an interim report regarding Bears Ears specifically to the President no more than 45 days from the date of the EO.
The EO states: “Within 45 days of the date of this order, the Secretary shall provide an interim report to the President… The interim report shall include recommendations for such Presidential actions, legislative proposals, or other actions consistent with law as the Secretary may consider appropriate to carry out the policy set forth in section 1 of this order.”
“I spent a lot of time on the ground in Utah, talking with people and understanding the natural and cultural significance of the area. There is no doubt that it is drop-dead gorgeous country and that it merits some degree of protection, but designating a monument that – including state land- encompasses almost 1.5 million-acres where multiple-use management is hindered or prohibited is not the best use of the land and is not in accordance with the intention of the Antiquities Act,” said Secretary Ryan Zinke. “I’ve submitted my 45-day interim report to President Trump expressing my belief that the monument needs to be right-sized and that it is absolutely critical that an appropriate part be co-managed by the Tribal nations. I also recommend that Congress take action to protect some areas.”
Regarding ongoing management and consultation with Tribal interests, Secretary Zinke said: “Co-management will be absolutely key going forward and I recommend that the monument, and especially the areas of significant cultural interest, be co-managed by the Tribal nations. I am grateful representatives from the Tribal governments met with me in Utah and am optimistic for our future.”
In May, Secretary Zinke traveled to Utah and held a four-day listening tour across the state to learn more about Bears Ears National Monument and the neighboring Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument. When accounting for state and private land, the perimeter of Bears Ears encompasses almost 1.5 million acres. Grand Staircase is 1.7 million acres.
The Secretary met with State, local, and Tribal stakeholders and toured the monument by air, car, foot, and horseback. He met with elected officials from Tribal, federal, state, and local communities. He also met with representatives from agriculture, conservation, historic preservation, and tourism sectors, as well as private citizens. The Secretary also held daily press briefings during the trip.
The Secretary met with the Bears Ears InterTribal Coalition while visiting Bears Ears National Monument on May 7, and the Acting Deputy Secretary held a four-hour follow-up meeting with the Bears Ears Commission and the InterTribal Coalition on May 25.
Prior to the trip to Utah in early May, Secretary Zinke opened up a formal public comment period where members of the public could submit their statements regarding all monuments to the Secretary. The was the first time ever that a formal public comment period was set up for monuments designated under the Antiquities Act.
“Local input is absolutely critical when it comes to federal land management decisions and as such, I’m extending the public comment period for Bears Ears. I want every advocate to have their voice heard,” said Secretary Zinke.
Due to the 120-day final review period for Bears Ears National Monument, the formal public comment period for Bears Ears will be extended through July 10th and will close with the overall comment period. Comments may be submitted on regulations.gov or by traditional mail. If an individual submitted a comment on Bears Ears during the initial comment period, they do not need to resubmit.
President Trump is just getting started.