The federal government owns one-fifth of the land in the United States. President Donald Trump and the Department of the Interior believe the government might just own too much of America and perhaps did not come by all of the 27 national monuments, and the property that surrounds them, by legal means.
The Interior Department is currently reviewing the protected status held by 27 national monuments in conjunction with a related executive order signed recently by President Trump. In the order, Trump referred to the means former past administrations used to designate the monuments as protected as a prime example of federal government overreach.
“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,” President Donald Trump said after signing executive order 13792 on April 26.
The president went on to call the designation of the 27 national monuments a “massive federal land grab” by former President Barack Obama, President George W. Bush, and Bill Clinton.
— The Hill (@thehill) May 6, 2017
All 27 national monuments currently being considered for possible alteration or cancellation of their protected status were acquired by the federal government under the Antiquities Act. The act was signed into law by President Theodore Roosevelt in 1906. The act permits presidents to designate national monuments on federally-owned land.
The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) supervises and manages the use of all federal lands, as previously reported by the Inquisitr. The federal government owns millions of acres in many states — totaling more than half of the overall land mass in some western states. In Nevada, about 80 percent of the land is under BLM control and owned by the federal government. Approximately 61 percent of the land in Alaska is owned by the government.
The 27 national monuments now being reviewed by the Interior Department are primarily located on 22 different parcels of federal land in western states as well as five marine monuments located in the Pacific and Atlantic oceans, the Hill reports.
Interior Dept. has put 27 nat’l monuments up for review—will consider resizing, modifying or rescinding designation.https://t.co/Nfv5izNMky
— Kyle Griffin (@kylegriffin1) May 6, 2017
The Department of the Interior just announced plans to host a public comment forum regarding national monument designations for the first time in the history of the agency. The Antiquities Act does not mandate a public comment period be opened before making a decision about a monument. Both Interior Department Secretary Ryan Zinke and the president have stated that listening to the views of Americans when making federal land management decisions is a crucial part of the equation.
“The Department of the Interior is the steward of America’s greatest treasures and the manager of one-fifth of our land. Part of being a good steward is being a good neighbor and listening to the American people who we represent,” Secretary Zinke said.
Zinke went on to say there is no pre-determined outcome regarding the decision on any of the noted 27 national monuments.
List of 27 National Monuments Under Review
- Basin and Range encompasses 703.585 acres in Nevada.
- Bears Ears is located in Utah and is 1,353,000 acres in size.
- Berryessa Snow Mountain encompasses 330,780 acres in California.
- Canyons of the Ancients in Colorado is 175,160 acres in size.
- Carrizo Plain encompasses 204,107 acres in California.
- Cascade-Siskiyou in Oregon is 100,000 acres in size.
- Craters of the Moon is located in Idaho and encompasses 737,525 acres.
- Giant Sequoia in California is 327,760 acres in size.
- Gold Butte in Nevada encompasses 296,937 acres.
- Grand Canyon-Parashant encompasses 1,014,000 acres in Arizona.
- Grand Staircase-Escalante in Utah is 1,700,000 acres in size.
- Hanford Reach is located in Washington and is 194,450.93 acres in size.
- Ironwood Forest in Arizona is 128,917 acres in size.
- Mojave Trails is located in California and encompasses 1,600,000 acres.
- Organ Mountains-Desert Peaks encompasses 496,330 acres in New Mexico.
- Rio Grande del Norte is also located in New Mexico and is 242,555 acres in size.
- Sand to Snow in California is 154,000 acres in size.
- San Gabriel Mountains encompasses 346,177 in California.
- Sonoran Desert in Arizona is 486,149 acres in size.
- Upper Missouri River Breaks encompasses 377,346 acres in Montana.
- Vermilion Cliffs is located in Arizona and is 279,568 acres in size.
- Katahdin Woods and Waters in Maine is 87,563 acres in size.
- Marianas Trench in the CNMI/Pacific Ocean is 60,938,240 acres in size.
- Northeast Canyons and Seamounts is located in the Atlantic Ocean and encompasses 3,114,320 acres.
- Pacific Remote Islands encompasses 55,608,320 acres in the Pacific Ocean.
- Papahanaumokuakea is located in Hawaii/Pacific Ocean and is 89,600,000 acres in size.
- Rose Atoll in American Samoa/Pacific Ocean encompasses 8,609,045 acres.
The public comment period opens online on May 12. Those interested in making their voices heard should visit the Department of Interior’s regulations webpage and enter “DOI-2017-0002” in the search bar or mail their views on the subject to: Monument Review, MS-1530, U.S. Department of the Interior, 1849 C Street NW, Washington, DC 20240.
What do you think about the Interior Department and President Trump reviewing the status of the 27 national monuments?
[Featured Image by U. Gernhoefer/Shutterstock]