PICKERINGTON, Ohio – The American Motorcyclist Association supports President Donald Trump’s decision announced Wednesday to order the review of all national monument designations that are greater than 100,000 acres made by administrations during the past 21 years under the American Antiquities Act of 1906.
Bears Ears National Monument in Utah. Photo courtesy of the U.S. Bureau of Land Management
The review is to be conducted by Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke, with two Utah monuments as the focus: Bears Ears National Monument designated by President Barack Obama in 2016 and the Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument designated by President Bill Clinton in 1996.
“We believe that past presidents have overstepped the bounds and the intent of the Antiquities Act by designating far more land as national monuments than was necessary,” said AMA Vice President of Government Relations Wayne Allard. “We applaud President Trump’s order to review these designations and hope that some of these boundaries can be reduced with input from local residents and officials.”
The AMA opposes sweeping monument designations by administrations that fail to consider input from stakeholders. Such designations can restrict or eliminate opportunities for responsible off-highway motorized recreation on public lands and negatively impact the local economies of the communities surrounding the monuments.
The AMA supports legislation that would require local approval. U.S. Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee Chair Lisa Murkowski introduced a bill in September that would require the president to get congressional approval and a statement from the governor of the state where a monument would be located that the state legislature has approved the designation.
Under President Trump’s directive, Zinke has 45 days to submit interim recommendations and 120 days to submit suggestions for legislation or recommend that the president reduce the size of monuments larger than 100,000 acres or rescind the designations altogether.
The legal power of a president to rescind monument designations is uncertain. But some presidents have used their authority to resize monuments designated by previous administrations.