The Antiquities Act has been key in protecting areas like the Grand Canyon and other iconic lands in the country, Dahl said, adding that "to dismantle it is nothing short of a betrayal to the American people and the land and history we've spent generations protecting". "This should never have happened".
Top Republican leaders in Utah have praised the President's move Wednesday. Sen.
Under the order, after 45 days Zinke is meant to produce an interim report focused on the controversial Bears Ears National Monument that former President Barack Obama created in December 2016. That includes two protections in Utah where the state's Republican-led lawmakers want to revoke the monument status for sites believed to hold fossil fuel resources.
Although Trump's order will not immediately strip any lands of their designation (no decision will be made for at least 120 days), opponents of the order say that a review is just the first step to giving the land back to Utah. Numerous recent monuments were already land owned by the government but were changed to monuments, affecting how the land can be used for things like livestock grazing.
Trump's justification for the order was that Obama's use of the 1906 Antiquities Act to create monuments marked an "egregious abuse of federal power". Zinke said during a conference call with reporters on Tuesday that the review "doesn't presuppose any action". Some monuments have been expanded since their initial designation. Last year, it donated all of its $10 million dollars from Black Friday sales to environmental causes.
Thousands of people in USA rally against Trump, for workers
And the platform of the Women's March in January was similarly broad, adding LGBTQIA, worker, and disability rights. Teachers working without contracts opened the day by picketing outside schools in Philadelphia and Pittsburgh.
He said past designations have too often excluded the people most directly affected by the designations. President Clinton declared the site a national monument in 2000.
President Woodrow Wilson reduced the size of Washington state's Mount Olympus National Monument in 1915, arguing there was an urgent need for timber at the time, one of the few examples of national monuments being changed.
Many more have been modified.
Though "by and large", Zinke said, he feels the designations have done "a great service to the public", he said he worries about overuse and overreach. "Legally, it's untested. I would think that (if) the president would nullify a monument, it would be challenged and then the court would determine whether or not the legal framework allows it or not".
The action was welcomed by Rep. Rob Bishop, R-Utah, a vocal critic of the Bears Ears designation and of what he called "long-standing abuses of the Antiquities Act".
The Executive Order directs the Department of the Interior to review monuments designated using the Antiquities Act as of January 1, 1996, that are in excess of 100,000 acres, or monuments that were expanded without adequate public outreach and coordination with relevant stakeholders.