He wants to make sure that national monuments designated in the past twenty-one years conform to the 1906 Antiquities Act. The act, which was signed into law by Teddy Roosevelt, gives the President the authority to create national monuments from federal lands to protect the land’s natural or cultural resources.
Here is the pertinent section (2) of the Antiquities Act:
The President of the United States is authorized, in his discretion, to declare by public proclamation historic landmarks, historic and prehistoric structures, and other objects of historic or scientific interest that are situated upon the lands owned or controlled by the Government of the United States to be national monuments, and may reserve as a part thereof parcels of land, the limits of which in all cases shall be confined to the smallest area compatible with proper care and management of the objects to be protected. When such objects are situated upon a tract covered by a bona fide unperfected claim or held in private ownership, the tract, or so much thereof as may be necessary for the proper care and management of the object, may be relinquished to the Government, and the Secretary of the Interior is hereby authorized to accept the relinquishment of such tracts in [sic] behalf of the Government of the United States.
Apparently Utah conservatives were not happy when Barack Obama used the Act late in his administration (December 2016) to create the Bears Ears National Monument.
Here is a taste of a Salt Lake City Tribune article on Trump’s latest attempt to wipe Barack Obama from the face of history:
While no president has attempted to withdraw a monument named by a predecessor, there have been those who have scaled back those designations.
For his part, Sen. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, has pressed Trump for action on the Bears Ears declaration and visited the area last week.
“For years, I have fought every step of the way to ensure that our lands are managed by the Utahns [who] know them best and cherish them deeply,” Hatch said in a statement Sunday night. “That’s why I’m committed to rolling back the egregious abuse of the Antiquities Act to serve far-left special interests. As part of this commitment, I have leveraged all of my influence—from private meetings in the Oval Office in the president’s first week in office to my latest trip to Bears Ears this week–to ensure that this issue is a priority on the president’s agenda.”
Environmental groups quickly raised concerns that Trump was acting without looking at the reasons that Obama used the 1906 Antiquities Act to preserve the 1.35 million acres of Bears Ears….
“Utah’s national monuments are our first line of defense against the very real specter of climate change, providing resiliency to not only the species within them, but also to nearby communities,” said Jen Ujifusa, legislative director of the Southern Utah Wilderness Alliance. “President Trump and the Utah delegation should focus their energies on solving America’s challenges, rather than unraveling the solutions that are already working.”
Josh Ewing, executive director of the Friends of Cedar Mesa, which along with an American Indian tribal coalition had pushed for the monument declaration, said he welcomes the review because, if done correctly, it will show the need for protection of the area.
Read the entire article here.