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National monument designations should require congressional approval, not a Trump Executive Order

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President Donald Trump and U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. Nikki Haley at a working lunch with ambassadors of countries on the U.N. Security Council and their spouses at the White House in Washington

The Antiquities Act, created by Congress in 1906, gives the President executive authority to designate national monuments to protect federal land.

Hatch hinted Monday that Trump's executive order could be the first serious step in making changes to Bears Ears and other Obama-era designations.

Some businesses in the Katahdin region are not happy with Governor LePage's continued opposition to President Obama's National Monument designation.

Republicans also objected when Obama created the Katahdin Woods and Waters National Monument in ME last summer on 87,500 acres of donated forestland.

Zinke said Tuesday in a briefing with reporters that he will make a recommendation on the contested parcel of land in 45 days and later provided Trump will a fuller report.

While Zinke did not identify which designations the administration considers the most problematic, the review has been specifically crafted to encompass national monuments in Utah: Grand Staircase-Escalante, which Clinton declared in 1996, and Bears Ears, which Obama declared last December.

On Wednesday, Trump will reportedly sign the "Executive Order for a Review of Designations under the Antiquities Act", Axios reported. Hatch's comment about "reining" it in suggests that the Trump administration is beginning a process that may alter the law, which could impact the ability of future presidents to create national monuments in the first place - a boon to local communities that feel strangled by regulation but a blow to conservationists who view the West as threatened by human activity.

Over the last 20 years, Zinke said, tens of millions of acres have been designated as national monuments, limiting their use for farming, timber harvesting, mining and oil and gas exploration, and other commercial uses.

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St. Clair said he doesn't believe the president overreached, and called the consequences of the creation of Maine's monument "incredibly positive".

Ultimately the secretary may urge the president to rescind, resize or modify the management of around 30 national monuments, Zinke said, all of them larger than 100,000 acres.

"The storm is getting worse before it gets better", he said. Reps. Rob Bishop and Jason Chaffetz tried to head off the designation with their Public Lands Initiative, but that failed to get through Congress before President Obama made the designation.

Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument (Utah): Per a report published by the Utah Geological Association, "Nowhere else in the world are the rocks and geologic features so well exposed, so brilliantly colored, and so excitingly displayed".

The truth is that Trump's executive order is just the latest attempt in a losing effort to privatize American public lands and waters.

All of those monuments could be targeted under the review Trump is ordering.

Zinke said he is prepared for legal challenges from environmental groups - "I am not in fear of getting sued, I get sued all the time", he said - but acknowledged that it is "untested" whether the President has the power to shrink public lands by using the Antiquities Act. 47% of Republicans say Trump should "definitely" take action on Bears Ears while 83% of Democrats say "definitely not".

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