From Teddy Roosevelt to Barack Obama, America’s presidents have used the Antiquities Act to protect more than 150 special places as national monuments, so their historic value and rugged natural beauty may be as unmarred 100 years from now as they are today.
The protections span landscapes and marine ecosystems, from Utah’s Bears Ears to California’s Giant Sequoia, and Arizona’s Grand Canyon-Parashant to Maine’s Katahdin Woods and Waters.
In April, President Donald Trump issued an executive order instructing the Department of the Interior to review national monuments designated in the past 21 years: 27 in total.
Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke’s report to President Trump on August 24th has been kept secret. The Washington Post received a copy and reports that Zinke specifically recommends erasing protections for ten of our public lands and waters. These most threatened places are: Bears Ears, Cascade-Siskiyou, Gold Butte, Grand Staircase-Escalante, Katahdin Woods and Waters, Organ Mountains-Desert Peaks, Northeast Canyons and Seamounts, Rose Atoll, the Pacific Remote Islands, and Rio Grande del Norte.
Most of the remaining monuments remain in limbo.
Featured National Monuments
We can challenge President Trump and Secretary Zinke's unprecedented move to potentially erase protections for wildlands and archeological sites. The legal case against the president is strong — the Federal Land Policy and Management Act of 1976 affirmed that only Congress has the authority to modify national monuments. But we also need U.S. Senators in states with threatened national monuments to do everything they can protect these special places.