Speaking from the Interior Department Wednesday, President Donald Trump signed an executive order calling for the review of wide swaths of federal land previously designated as National Monuments. The monuments, declared by past administrations and most recently by President Obama, fall under the Antiquities Act.
"Today I'm signing another executive order to end an egregious abuse of executive power and give that power back to the states and the people where it belongs," Trump said. "The Antiquities Act does not give the federal government unlimited power."
"The previous administration used a 100-year-old law known as the Antiquities Act to unilaterally put millions of acres of land and water under strict federal control -- have you heard about that? -- eliminating the ability of the people who actually live in those states to decide how best to use that land," Trump continued. "Altogether, the previous administration bypassed the states to place over 265 million acres -- that's a lot of land ... and water under federal control through the abuse of the monuments designation."
"This executive order does not remove any monuments and this executive order does not weaken any environmental protections," Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke said before Trump's remarks.
The Antiquities Act is also under review and has been abused for decades by environmentalist groups to cut off federal land use by the American people.
"The Antiquities Act is a century-old law that has been hijacked by executive overreach in recent years. While designating monuments is a noble goal, this law, like many others, has strayed far from its original purpose," House Speaker Paul Ryan said in response to the review. "Presidents have used the law to lock up thousands of acres of lands and water with the stroke of a pen, disregarding the needs and concerns of local communities. I comment the Trump administration for stopping this cycle of executive abuse and beginning a review of post designation."
This post has been updated with an additional quote.
Talking to my western hunting and outdoor buddies, they are very happy about National Monument review & hoping it leads to opening of land— Katie Pavlich (@KatiePavlich) April 26, 2017