December 10, 2017

Some reasons Trump is illegal and wrong in attack on national monuments

National Parks Conservation Service

The president does not have legal authority to abolish national monuments or remove their legal protections. The Antiquities Act grants a president the authority to create, but not to undo, national monuments. In 1938, the Attorney General concluded that the national monument designations could only be reversed by Congress; a 1976 law, the Federal Land Policy Management Act, upholds this conclusion.

National monuments belong to all Americans. Public lands are owned by all Americans, not “a small handful of very distant bureaucrats located in Washington,” as Trump asserted in his speech. The people of Utah own them. The people of Alaska own them. The people of Maine own them. And all of the other states, too. Everyone should have a say in their protection.

National monuments can only be created from existing federal land. Presidents cannot “grab” private, state or local lands to incorporate into a national monument. By designating national monuments, presidents — Republicans and Democrats alike — have simply protected for the American people what is already ours.

 National monuments are good for the economy. Outdoor recreation generates $887 billion in consumer spending and supports 7.6 million jobs annually. Western rural counties with the highest share of federal lands benefitted from higher employment and personal income growth over the last 40 years than counties with fewer public lands.

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