Archive for Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Trump slams national monuments as ‘massive federal land grab,’ orders review

President Donald Trump speaks at the Interior Department in Washington, Wednesday, April, 26, 2017. The president is proposing dramatically reducing the taxes paid by corporations big and small in an overhaul his administration says will spur economic growth and bring jobs and prosperity to the middle class. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)

President Donald Trump speaks at the Interior Department in Washington, Wednesday, April, 26, 2017. The president is proposing dramatically reducing the taxes paid by corporations big and small in an overhaul his administration says will spur economic growth and bring jobs and prosperity to the middle class. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)

April 26, 2017


— President Donald Trump signed an executive order Wednesday directing his interior secretary to review the designation of dozens of national monuments on federal lands, as he singled out "a massive federal land grab" by the Obama administration.

It was yet another executive action from a president trying to rack up accomplishments before his first 100 days in office, with Saturday marking that milestone.

The latest move could upend protections put in place in Utah and other states under a 1906 law that authorizes the president to declare federal lands as monuments and restrict their use.

During a signing ceremony at the Interior Department, Trump said the order would end "another egregious abuse of federal power" and "give that power back to the states and to the people where it belongs."

Trump accused the Obama administration of using the Antiquities Act to "unilaterally put millions of acres of land and water under strict federal control" — a practice Trump derided as "a massive federal land grab."

"Somewhere along the way the Act has become a tool of political advocacy rather than public interest," Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke said. "And it's easy to see why designations in some cases are viewed negatively by those local communities that are impacted the most."

In December, shortly before leaving office, President Barack Obama infuriated Utah Republicans by creating the Bears Ears National Monument on more than 1 million acres of land that's sacred to Native Americans and home to tens of thousands of archaeological sites, including ancient cliff dwellings.

Republicans in the state asked Trump to take the unusual step of reversing Obama's decision. They said the designation will stymie growth by closing the area to new commercial and energy development. The Antiquities Act does not give the president explicit power to undo a designation and no president has ever taken such a step.

Trump's order was one of a handful he intended to sign this week in a flurry of developments before his 100th day in office. The president has used executive orders aggressively over the past three months; as a candidate, Trump railed against Obama's use of this power.

Wednesday's order will cover several dozen monuments across the country designated since 1996. They total 100,000 acres or more and include the Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument and Bear Ears, both in Utah.

Zinke was directed to produce an interim report in 45 days and make a recommendation on Bears Ears, and then issue a final report within 120 days.

Zinke said that over the past 20 years, the designation of tens of millions of acres as national monuments have limited the lands' use for farming, timber harvesting, mining and oil and gas exploration, and other commercial purposes.

While designations have done "a great service to the public," Zinke said the "local community affected should have a voice."

Some, including Sen. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, have hailed the order as the end of "land grabs" by presidents dating to Bill Clinton.

But Sen. Martin Heinrich, D-N.M., said that if Trump truly wants to make America great again, he should use the law to protect and conserve America's public lands. In New Mexico, Obama's designation of Rio Grande del Norte National Monument and Organ Mountains-Desert Peaks National Monument have preserved important lands while boosting the economy, Heinrich said, and that story has repeated across the country.

"If this sweeping review is an excuse to cut out the public and scale back protections, I think this president is going to find a very resistant public," Heinrich said.

Leaders of the Bears Ears Inter-Tribal Coalition called Trump's action "extremely troubling."

"It is offensive for politicians to call the Bears Ears National Monument 'an abuse,'" said Shaun Chapoose, chairman of the Ute Indian Tribe Business Committee. "To the contrary, it is a fulfillment of our duty to preserve our cultures and our ancestral lands, and its designation was the result of a long, deliberative process to fight for our ancestors as well as access for contemporary use of the lands by our tribal members."


Joe Blackford II 1 year ago

As I've commented previously, the Trump presidency => "virtueless reality."

David Teska 1 year ago

We visited the Grand Canyon in March 2016. One exhibit showed a plan from the 1960s of a huge hotel a developer wanted to build that would have gone down the side of the canyon with the rooms overlooking the massive canyon itself. It was never built. If by land grab POTUS means the Feds secure our most previous and unique spots of land, thus preserving it for all to enjoy and not something just used for more development then I totally agree...

Gary Pomeroy 1 year ago

I can appreciate and share some of the comments. However having lived in Arizona and Utah for 25 years or so, the other issue is that the federal government owns and controls about 57% of all of the land in the state of Utah and 48% of Arizona - and 84% of Nevada. I am not agreeing with the Prez, but it is an issue that deserves discussion and review.

Bob Smith 1 year ago

How much land do the feds need?

Ken Lassman 1 year ago

As the Ute chief said in the article, it is actually tribal land that is being preserved for traditional use, instead of being turned over to the highest bidders for mineral rights, ranching, water rights, commercial development schemes, etc. I have no problem preserving the land for traditional uses for our future generations to witness and learn from. It not only is for humans but also protects a wide range of plants and animal habitats that have been here much longer than even traditional tribal practices. I find that of value personally and I suspect future generations might find that to be even more valuable than I do.

Dorothy Hoyt-Reed 1 year ago

What! Preserving land? Not using it for money and profit?

Richard Heckler 1 year ago

Where are the tax returns Mr Trump?

Where are the special prosecutors? with a large FBI team!

How many do we need for this administration?

Watergate,Iran Contra,several financial fiascos have occurred under the conservative umbrella since Reagan/Bush. So to say there is not a pattern is nonsense.

Why shouldn't law enforcement be interested in a man who got bailed out of bankruptcy through Russian crime bosses?

Ego mania is getting in the way of law enforcement, practical and pragmatic government !

Which is the greater threat to USA security and/or foreign policy?

Donald Trump Was Bailed Out of Bankruptcy by Russian Crime Bosses The facts read like a B-grade spy novel.

In 2008, Donald Trump Jr. attended a real estate conference, where he stated that Russians make up a pretty disproportionate cross-section of a lot of our assets. We see a lot of money pouring in from Russia.

Gary Pomeroy 1 year ago

And this pertains to the article how?

Bob Smith 1 year ago

Deceased equines are being pummeled.

Commenting has been disabled for this item.