President Donald Trump is looking to curb what he terms "abuses" of the Antiquities Act, in a move he claims would return power to the states. The president has signed a new executive order calling for a review of national monument designations over the last 21 years, specifically citing Utah as a state that needed review. He signed the order Wednesday morning at the Department of the Interior flanked by the most prominent Republican public officials in Utah, including Governor Gary Herbert, Sens. Orrin Hatch and Mike Lee, and Rep. Chris Stewart.
In a statement about the signing President Trump said "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, eliminating the ability of the people who actually live in those states to decide how best to use that land....Today we are putting the states back in charge." The Bears Ears National Monument that was created in the final few weeks of the Obama administration was a source of great controversy, with the majority of Utah politicians calling it a federal land grab in a state with already too much land under federal control. Meanwhile, some Native American tribes and environmental advocacy groups made the push for the designation.
Photo courtesy of Wiki user Gage Skidmore