Background: The Antiquities Act has been used by presidents to turn public land into national monuments to protect them forever from commercial development or future mineral extraction. The president can make monuments only from land already controlled by the federal government, and the act generally does not change how the land is used. If leases for mining, ranching, drilling or logging already exist, they can continue, but new leases probably won’t be allowed. A president can change the boundaries of a national monument, but the act does not give the president the authority to revoke previous monument designations. No prior president has ever reduced the size of a national monument.
Trump ordered the Interior Department to review the size and scope of national monuments larger than 100,000 acres created since 1996. He wants recommendations on whether any should be scaled back. Reducing the size of national monuments would benefit oil, gas, mining, logging and ranching because the federal government could grant more leases.
Cascade Siskiyou National Monument: Within Oregon the Cascade Siskiyou National Monument is under review. Last fall Obama expanded the monument to 113,013 acres within a footprint that covers about 137,500 acres and expands beyond southeastern Jackson County into Klamath County and northern California. Eighty-five scientists signed a letter supporting a study that showed monument expansion was necessary to protect its biological uniqueness against climate change and for continuity because monument boundaries did not take into account full drainages. Private lands inside that footprint remain private and are not subject to monument rules, which ban commercial timber harvest but allow well vetted noncommercial cutting.
Opponents, however, said the Bureau of Land Management, which manages the monument, did not have direct input in the expansion, and they have a stable of landowners, groups and politicians in their camp. Two federal lawsuits are challenging whether the Cascade-Siskiyou National Monument was improperly expanded into O&C Act lands, based on a 1940 internal DOI review that concluded O&C Act lands cannot be rolled into monument status.
Assistance in Letter Writing: For additional help in letter writing regarding the monument, review the information on this site: http://www.cascadesiskiyou.org/take-action/
Here is the list of all monuments under review:
- Basin and Range, Nevada
- Bears Ears, Utah
- Berryessa Snow Mountain, California
- Canyons of the Ancients, Colorado
- Carrizo Plain, California
- Cascade Siskiyou, Oregon
- Craters of the Moon, Idaho
- Giant Sequoia, California
- Gold Butte, Nevada
- Grand Canyon-Parashant, Arizona
- Grand Staircase-Escalante, Utah
- Hanford Reach, Washington
- Ironwood Forest, Arizona
- Mojave Trails, California
- Organ Mountains-Desert Peaks, New Mexico
- Rio Grande del Norte, New Mexico
- Sand to Snow, California
- San Gabriel Mountains, California
- Sonoran Desert, Arizona
- Upper Missouri River Breaks, Montana
- Vermilion Cliffs, Arizona
- Katahadin Woods and Waters, Maine
- Marianas Trench, CNMI/Pacific Ocean
- Northeast Canyons and Seamounts, Atlantic Ocean
- Pacific Remote Islands, Pacific Ocean
- Papahanaumokuakea, Hawaii/Pacific Ocean
- Rose Atoll, American Samoa/Pacific Ocean
Details on How to Comment: The Department of the Interior is allowing a public comment period beginning May 13, 2017 via online or email. Comments may be submitted online after May 12 at http://www.regulations.gov by entering “DOI-2017-0002” in the Search bar and clicking “Search,” or by mail to Monument Review, MS-1530, U.S. Department of the Interior, 1849 C Street NW, Washington, DC 20240.
Press Release from DOI regarding review: https://www.doi.gov/pressreleases/interior-department-releases-list-monuments-under-review-announces-first-ever-formal
Dates: Public comment period will open May 13, 2017. Written comments relating to the Bears Ears National Monument must be submitted within 15 days of publication of that notice. Written comments relating to all other monument designations must be submitted within 60 days of that date.