According to the July LANDTHINK Pulse results, 52.5% of respondents indicated that they support President Trump’s review of federal monuments. On April 26, in a bold move to “end another egregious abuse of federal power” and give land back to the American people, President Donald Trump signed an executive order tasking Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke to determine if his immediate presidential predecessors put a stranglehold on tens of millions of acres of federal land by declaring them national monuments under a century-old law called the Antiquities Act. The Department of the Interior opened up a first-ever public comment period where the public could weigh in with input on the executive order.
The review encompasses over two dozen national monuments, located mostly in the Western states, that are larger than 100,000 acres and were created since 1996. Zinke told the press that the “bookends” of his review will be two monuments in Utah- the Grand Staircase-Escalante, created by President Bill Clinton, and Bears Ears, established by President Barack Obama in his final weeks in office. The review commissioned by Trump is an unprecedented undertaking, as no sitting president has ever attempted to abolish a previous president’s creation of a national monument.
The executive order also calls for review of what some deem an outdated Antiquities Act, passed by Congress and signed into law by Teddy Roosevelt in 1906. The law gives the president the authority to create national monuments from federal lands without the approval of Congress. In a joint press conference with Zinke, President Trump stated ”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, eliminating the ability of the people who actually live in those states to decide how best to use that land.” The Antiquities Act calls for designated areas to be confined to “the smallest area compatible with proper care and management of the objects to be protected.”
Barack Obama added a record-setting 29 “national monuments” to the register during his years in office. He expanded other monuments designated by former presidents, for a grand total of 34. During his time in the White House, Obama set aside an astounding 3.9 millions acres of land- more than any other U.S. president.
In a press briefing, Zinke stated that “some of these areas were put off limits for traditional uses, like farming, ranching, timber harvest, mining, oil and gas exploration, fishing, and motorized recreation.” He clarified that “the executive order does not strip any monument of a designation” and that his review will determine if “the designation of the monuments may have resulted in loss of jobs, reduced wages and reduced public access.”
As of August 4th, Zinke had completed his review of six of the monuments on the list. So far, he has concluded that Canyons of the Ancients in Colorado, Craters of the Moon in Idaho, Hanford Reach in Washington, Upper Missouri River Breaks in Montana, and most recently Grand Canyon-Parashant in northwestern Arizona would remain fully protected by federal land-use restrictions. He previously recommended a boundary reduction for Bears Ears in Utah. Zinke’s final report is expected within 120 days of the signing of the order.
Last month, the July Pulse asked: Do you support the review of federal monuments to determine if they should be relinquished back to the states? The results of our informal online survey reflected that our audience was relatively divided on the issue; 52.5% of our audience answered “YES”, supporting Trumps efforts to free up federal land. Only 47.5% of respondents said “NO”, indicating they do not support the review and believe America’s national monuments should be left as they are.
Those that disapprove over the attempt to downsize national monuments argue that the sensitive public lands should be protected from energy exploration, mineral extraction, ranching, and other potentially harmful development. The Interior Department was reported to have received over 1 million public comments during its open period in support of the national monuments, urging Trump to protect public land. As verified by our results, a strong sector of the public believes that the national monuments create jobs and generate revenue from tourism and recreation that boost local economies. Conservation and environmental organizations, including The Sierra Club and The Wilderness Society have openly and harshly criticized Trump’s review and rallied support to keep all 27 national monuments intact.
Here are the final results:
- 52.5% said YES, they DO support the support the review of federal monuments
- 47.5% said NO, they DO NOT support the review of federal monuments
Thank you to everyone who participated and shared the Pulse with friends and connections in the land industry. LANDTHINK would like to extend a big thank thank you to AUCTIONFLIP for sponsoring the July Pulse. AUCTIONFLIP is part of the LANDFLIP NETWORK and is devoted to land auctions only, both online and onsite.
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