Skip to main content

Trump Puts America’s National Monuments on Trial with Latest Executive Order

President Trump signals intent to axe national monuments
First light over Cedar Mesa in southeast Utah, Bears Ears National Monument.

First light over Cedar Mesa in southeast Utah, Bears Ears National Monument.

Mason Cummings / TWS
April 26, 2017
Washington, D.C. —

Today, President Trump issued an executive order to the Department of the Interior to review national monuments designated between 1996 and 2017 over 100,000 acres in size. Trump is instigating an investigation into some of the nation’s most cherished lands and waters. According to Secretary Zinke, the review will lead to a report on Bears Ears National Monument in 45 days and a larger report on national monuments in 120 days, though it remains unclear what concrete recommendations for action those reports will make.

The following statement is from Heidi McIntosh, Earthjustice’s managing attorney in the Rocky Mountains and a public lands expert:

“President Trump is putting our national monuments on trial so he can put them on the chopping block. No president in American history has reversed a national monument designation, but Trump is looking for ways to gut monuments and weaken the Antiquities Act, the nation’s century-old public lands law protecting some of our most cherished landscapes and heritage.

“America’s national monuments are incredibly popular, funnel money into our economy, and hold precious cultural heritage. Any attempt to reverse or shrink a monument designation by the executive branch is unlawful under the Antiquities Act. Only Congress has the authority to modify a national monument. Earthjustice stands ready to defend the Antiquities Act and the national monuments protected under the law.”

Resources for reporters:

National monuments designated between 1996 and 2017 over 100,000 acres in size:

  • Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument, Utah, W. Clinton, 1996 (BLM)
  • Grand Canyon-Parashant National Monument, Arizona, W. Clinton, 2000 (BLM)
  • Portion of Sequoia National Forest (originally Giant Sequoia), California, W. Clinton, 2000 (USFS)
  • Canyon of the Ancients National Monument, Colorado, W. Clinton, 2000 (BLM)
  • Hanford Reach National Monument, Washington, W. Clinton, 2000 (FWS)
  • Ironwood Forest National Monument, Arizona, W. Clinton, 2000 (BLM)
  • Santa Rosa-San Jacinto Mountains National Monument, California, Congress 2000 (BLM, USFS)
  • Vermillion Cliffs National Monument, Arizona, W. Clinton, 2000 (BLM)
  • Carrizo Plain National Monument, California, W. Clinton, 2001 (BLM)
  • Sonoran Desert National Monument, Arizona, W. Clinton, 2001 (BLM)
  • Upper Missouri River Breaks National Monument, Montana, W. Clinton, 2001 (BLM)
  • Papahānaumokuākea Marine National Monument (originally Northwestern Hawaiian Islands), Hawaii, G. W. Bush, 2006 (FWS, NOAA)
  • Marianas Trench Marine National Monument, Hawaii, G.W. Bush, 2009 (FWS)
  • Rose Atoll Marine National Monument, Hawaii, G.W. Bush, 2009 (FWS)
  • Pacific Remote Islands National Monument, Hawaii, G. W. Bush, 2009 (FWS, NOAA)
  • Rio Grande del Norte National Monument, New Mexico, B. H. Obama, 2013 (BLM)
  • Organ Mountains-Desert Peaks National Monument, New Mexico, B.H. Obama, 2014 (BLM)
  • San Gabriel Mountains National Monument, California, B. H. Obama, 2014 (USFS)
  • Berryessa Snow Mountain National Monument, California, B. H. Obama, 2015 (USFS)
  • Basin and Range National Monument, Nevada, B. H. Obama, 2015 (BLM)
  • Mojave Trails National Monument, California, B. H. Obama, 2016 (BLM)
  • Sand to Snow National Monument, California, B. H. Obama, 2016 (USFS)
  • Northeast Canyons and Seamounts Marine National Monument, Massachusetts, B. H. Obama, 2016 (NOAA, FWS) (resources available for media use)
  • Bears Ears National Monument, Utah, B. H. Obama, 2016 (USFS, BLM) (photos available for media use)
  • Gold Butte National Monument, Nevada, B. H. Obama, 2016 (BLM)