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Trump to order review of national monuments designated by Obama

It’s about time a modern presidency scaled back federal land management

(NationalSentinel) Federal Land: Donald J. Trump ran a populist campaign as a presidential candidate of the people. Now, it seems, he may want to give the people back some of the land taken from them by his predecessors.

Trump will order a review of national monument designations made by Presidents Barack Obama and Bill Clinton, directing the Department of the Interior to review monuments of 100,000 acres or more, according to Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke, Breitbart News reported.

Between 24-40 monuments involving tens of millions of acres will be reviewed, perhaps with an eye towards reversing them and returning the land to states and to the people so they can be developed.

“It directs the Department of Interior to make recommendations to the president on whether the monument should be reminded, resized, modified in order to better manage our federal lands,” Zinke told reporters in a White House briefing on Tuesday evening.

Breitbart News reported further:

The review would specifically address Obama’s Bear Ears designation within 45 days in an interim review, with a final review scheduled for 120 days, according to Zinke.

The Bears Ears monument is 1.35 million acres — part of the over 553 million acres of land and sea designated as a monument during Obama’s presidency. Zinke also mentioned a review of the Grand Staircase monument (1,700,000 acres) instituted by Clinton. Clinton added 5.7 million acres of land, while George W. Bush designated 214 millions acres, which included acres of water.

But Zinke specifically mentioned two controversial monuments in Utah, including the more recent designation of Bears Ears monument by Obama.

Many designations by Left-wing and liberal presidents have set aside valuable land containing a multitude of natural resources that could provide opportunities and jobs. Also, Zinke said that it’s about time the federal government took a hard look at all of the land it has to manage.

“I can tell you as a kid that grew up in Montana, who grew up in the West … this is long overdue,” Zinke said, noting that state representatives and local industry would have a chance to provide input, which fulfills a Trump campaign promise.

While acknowledging that presidents have an “absolute” right to designate federal lands, he also said it was “undisputed” that presidents could also reverse previous designations, though that principle has yet to be challenged in court.

And challenged it will be. Zinke said there were environmental groups already lining up to challenge an Trump reversals.

“Prudent public policy should be the right policy, and I’m not in fear of getting sued, I get sued all the time,” Zinke said. “I don’t think law suits should shape public policy. I think public policy should do what’s right.”

He also blamed the media for whipping up groups into a frenzy over concerns that some of the lands may be developed for oil and gas.

“I’ve heard that many times and I think it’s the modern media that we live in today, we’re so polarized today,” Zinke said, promising that the review was not predisposed by a particular outcome.

Some of the lands that may fall under review include:

  • Grand Staircase-Escalante – Utah – Designated by Clinton – 1,700,000 acres
  • Grand Canyon-Parashant – Arizona – Designated by Clinton – 1,014,000 acres
  • Giant Sequoia – California – Designated by Clinton – 327,769 acres
  • Canyons of the Ancients Clinton – Colorado – Designated by Clinton -164,000 acres
  • Hanford Reach – Colorado- Designated by Clinton -195,000 acres
  • Ironwood Forest – Arizona -Designated by Clinton -128,917 acres
  • Vermillion Cliffs – Arizona -Designated by Clinton – 293,000 acres
  • Carrizo Plain – California – Designated by Clinton – 204,107 acres
  • Sonoran Desert – Arizona -Designated by Clinton – 486,149 acres
  • Upper Missouri River Breaks – Montana -Designated by Clinton – 377,346 acres
  • Papahānaumokuākea – Hawaii – Designated by W. Bush, 140,000 acres – expanded by Obama – 442,781 acres
  • Pacific Remote Islands – Hawaii – Designated by Bush, expanded by Obama 408,301
  • Rio Grande del Norte – New Mexico – Designated by Obama – 242,555 acres
  • Organ Mountains-Desert Peaks – Designated by Obama – 496,330 acres
  • San Gabriel Mountains – California -Designated by Obama – 346,177 acres
  • Berryessa Snow Mountain – California – Designated by Obama – 330,780 acres
  • Basin and Range – Nevada – Designated by Obama – 704,000 acres
  • Mojave Trails – California – Designated by Obama – 1.6 million acres
  • Sand to Snow – California – Designated by Obama – 154,000 acres
  • Bears Ears – Utah – Designated by Obama  1.35 million acres
  • Gold Butte – Nevada – Designated by Obama – 300,000 acres

(Source: National Park Service)

For sure, the Trump presidency is attempting to break the mold of what modern Executive Branches have looked like. That, too, is overdue.

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