UPDATE: President Trump signs Executive Order to review possible abuses of Antiquities Act
Apr 26, 2017 | 1344 views | 0 0 comments | 14 14 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Possible abuses of the Antiquities Act will be reviewed in the next 45 days after an Executive Order was signed by President Donald Trump on April 26. Trump signed the executive order in a ceremony at the headquarters of the Department of the Interior. The event was attended by Vice President Mike Pence, Utah Senators Orrin Hatch and Mike Lee, Utah Governor Gary Herbert, Interior Department officials and a host of elected officials from other states. Before signing the order, Trump focused on the most recent use of the Antiquities Act in December, 2016, when President Barack Obama created the 1.35-million acre Bears Ears National Monument in San Juan County. "I've heard a lot about Bears Ears and I hear it is beautiful," he said. Later, Trump stated, "Tremendously positive things are going to happen on that incredible land, the likes of which there is nothing more beautiful anywhere in the world." While discussing the Antiquities Act, Trump said, "The previous administration bypassed the states and placed 265 million acres under federal control… This is larger than the entire state of Texas. "The Antiquities Act does not give the fed government unlimited power to lock up millions of acres of land and water. It is time we ended this abusive practice. "It was a massive federal land grab. It has gotten worse and worse and worse and now we are going to free it up. It should have never happened. It is time we end these abuses and return control to the people, to put the American people back in charge of their government and their lives." To open the meeting, Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zenke welcomed the group and said, "The Antiquities Act has been effective tool to preserve some of our greatest treasure." Zenke said that the Act, which was passed by Congress in 1906, states that any designations should be the smallest area compatible with proper care and management of the resource. Zenke said, "However, 'smallest area' has too often become the exception rather than the rule." Zenke said the first monument created using the Antiquities Act was Devils Tower, a 1,200-acre monument, but in recent years, single monuments span tens of millions of acres. "The Antiquities Act has become a tool of political advocacy rather than public interest," said Zenke, who added, "This executive order does not remove any monuments or weaken any environmental protections on any public lands." While introducing the Trump, Vice President Mike Pence said that the order "will begin to undo one of the great federal overreaches of recent decades: the abuse of the Antiquities Act by politicians in Washington DC to grab land and power at the people's expense." As should be expected, there have been a host of comments about the Executive Order, including praise from elected officials in the impacted area. The Conservation Lands Foundation stated that the review "is a waste of time and money" and added, "The Executive Order is a distraction promoted by insincere politicians who would undermine the efforts of local communities coming together to protect the best of America's outdoor heritage." David Filfred, a Navajo Nation Council Delegate from San Juan County, said, “The designation of Bears Ears National Monument has been a celebratory moment in our history, where our voice was finally heard and our cultural and spiritual heritage was respected. Unfortunately, the Utah delegation has continued to attack Tribes and this unnecessary executive order serves to undermine Tribal sovereignty.” See the original story here
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People are definitely out visiting the famous ones in our area...  Jan Noirot photo
People are definitely out visiting the famous ones in our area... Jan Noirot photo
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President Trump expected to order review of Antiquities Act, possibly setting the stage to change Bears Ears National Monument boundary
Apr 25, 2017 | 1014 views | 0 0 comments | 16 16 recommendations | email to a friend | print
See updated story here U.S. President Donald Trump is expected to order a review of the use of the Antiquities Act over the past 20 years, including the creation of two massive national monuments that were created in southern Utah. The review will begin with the 1996 designation of the Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument by President Bill Clinton and will include the December, 2016 designation of Bears Ears National Monument by President Barack Obama. The Bears Ears monument designated 1.35 million acres of public land in San Juan County as a new national monument. This represents more than 25 percent of the land mass of county, which is the largest county in Utah. The review may begin the process of resizing or even rescinding the massive monument, which was created despite the united opposition of every elected official with direct responsibility over the land in question, except President Obama himself. The Antiquities Act, created by Congress in 1906, gives the President executive authority to designate national monuments to protect federal land. Trump’s order is expected to ask if recent use of the Antiquities Act has exceeded the scope of the legislation, which expressly states that the least amount of land should be designated. Local residents have fought the designations, arguing that the 1.9 million acre Grand Staircase-Escalante monument and the 1.35-million acre Bears Ears monument exceed the intent of the Antiquities Act. Local officials praised the announcement of Trump’s review, believing that it the first step in getting rid of the unpopular monument. Monument supporters state that the order will result in a verification that the monument was created under proper use of the Antiquities Act. On Wednesday, April 26 (after the press deadline) it is expected that Trump will sign an executive order to demand that the Interior Department secretary examine all national monument designations in the past 21 years to discern whether the size and scope are within the law’s intent. There is no precedent to rescind a monument, but monument boundaries have been resized or scaled back in previous cases. Utah Senator Orrin Hatch visited San Juan County in the past week and reported on his visit with an April 24 speech on the floor of the U.S. Senate. (read excerpts of the speech on page 3). The visit included stops with elected officials, business owners, Native American groups and a visit to the actual Bears Ears. The Bears Ears was created by President Obama after several years of discussions that included proposed legislation, the Public Lands Initiative (PLI). The PLI Congressional action, sponsored by Representatives Jason Chaffetz and Rob Bishop, failed to pass through Congress. Te actual designation of 1.35-million acres was cut back from a prior proposal to create a 1.9-million acre national monument. Details of the order will be released when it is formally announced.
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Earth Day Earthquake in Bears Ears National Mon.
Apr 25, 2017 | 327 views | 0 0 comments | 6 6 recommendations | email to a friend | print
An earthquake measuring 2.9 on the Richter scale struck an isolated area of San Juan County on April 22 at 1 a.m. The epicenter of the quake is on Mancos Mesa near Lake Powell. A number of area residents report that they felt the earthquake, including people in Blanding and Bluff, and a few in Montezuma Creek. The San Juan County Sheriff’s Office said there were no reports of damage from the earthquake.
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