Trump Signs Executive Order to Review Clinton and Obama Designated Monuments

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April 26, 2017

President Donald Trump signed an executive order at the Interior Department on Wednesday that will review the last two decades of presidential monument designations.

The executive order will review between 24 and 40 national monuments designated on federal public land since 1996 that are 100,000 acres or more in size, Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke told reporters on Tuesday.

Zinke will have to provide an interim report of the review in 45 days and a final report in 120 day as a result of the order. He said the executive order will restore the trust between local communities and Washington, D.C.

"The order places America and the Department of Interior back on track to manage our federal lands in accordance with traditional multiple use ... and directs the Department of Interior to make recommendations to the president on whether a monument should be rescinded, resized, [or] modified," Zinke said.

Two of the biggest monuments that received backlash were designated by former Presidents Bill Clinton and Barack Obama in Utah. In 1996, Clinton designated Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument, and in 2016, Obama designated the Bears Ears National Monument.

Obama also increased the size of President George W. Bush's monument off the coast of Hawaii. The increased monument, double the size of Texas, prohibits fishing and deep-sea mining in the area.

"Here's what the executive order does not do: The executive order does not strip any monument of a designation. The executive order does not loosen any environmental or conservation regulation on any land or marine areas," Zinke said. "It is a review of the last 20 years."

The Washington Examiner obtained a report of the official summary of the order.

"Past administrations have overused this power and designated large swaths of land well beyond the areas in need of protection. The Antiquities Act Executive Order directs the Department of the Interior to review prior monument designations and suggest legislative changes or modifications to the monument proclamations," the summary said.

Obama claimed he used the Antiquities Act to recognize the history of America.

"I believe our national parks should reflect the full story of our country–the richness and diversity and uniquely American spirit that has always defined us," Obama said.