At an event in Salt Lake City, President Trump announced a significant scaling back of two national monuments established by President Obama in December of 2016 and President Clinton in 1996. The Bears Ears National Monument was scaled back by 85 percent and Grand-Staircase Escalante by 46 percent, for nearly 2 million acres in total. This important reining in of the designations is a win for public land use and the original intent of the Antiquities Act.
Americans for Tax Reform President Grover Norquist had this to say:
“President Trump and Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke should be applauded for working to correct past executive overreach by Presidents Obama and Clinton. This is a fight about the use and enjoyment of public lands by the public. The reality is that American outdoorsmen and women have a vested interest in conservation. Compare them to the federal government, which is a frequent abuser of America’s natural beauty, whether it’s polluting the San Juan River in Colorado or extorting the organizers of Burning Man for unnecessary fees in the desert of Nevada.
The Trump and Zinke effort to rein in the abuse of the Antiquities Act is extremely important in the fight against radical special interests and bureaucrats. From Presidents Kennedy to Coolidge, Wilson, and Eisenhower, Presidents have scaled back federal monuments 18 times in the past. This is a great first step in the march towards restoring property and land use rights of the West.”
At the time of the Obama designation of Bears Ears, Utah Senator Mike Lee called the move “an arrogant act of a lame duck president,” now noting of Trump that he’s “grateful that [Trump] is willing to correct it.” The two monuments were under review, based on an Executive Order issued by President Trump early this year.
“No one values the splendor of Utah more than the people of Utah – and no one knows better how to use it. Families will hike and hunt on land they have known for generations, and they will preserve it for generations to come.” said President Trump. “The Antiquities Act does not give the Federal Government unlimited power to lock up millions of acres of land and water, and it’s time we ended this abusive practice. Public lands will once again be for public use.”