Trump Issues Executive Order Demanding Review of National Monuments

President Trump issued an Executive Order on the Review of Designations Under the Antiquities Act, which directs the Secretary of the Interior to review national monuments that were designated in the past 21 years to determine whether such monument designations may contradict the objectives set forth in the Antiquities Act or “create barriers to achieving energy independence, restrict public access to and use of Federal lands, burden State, tribal, and local governments, and otherwise curtail economic growth.”

Specifically, the order requires the Secretary to review designations and expansions made since January 1, 1996, where the designation  or expansion covers more than 100,000 acres, or where the Secretary determines that the designation or expansion was made without adequate public outreach and coordination with relevant stakeholders. The Secretary must report back to the President with an interim report within 45 days and a final report within 120 days. The report must include recommendations for presidential actions, legislative proposals, or other actions to address national monument designations that contradict the Antiquities Act objectives or create the sorts of barriers noted above.

This order is related to federal climate change policy in two ways: first, as noted by President Obama when he designated new national monuments in the California desert, the protection of these lands can contribute to climate resilience. Second, the protection of these lands also means that they are off limits to fossil fuel production.