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Missouri breaks monument among designations under review by Interior Department

 


Havre Daily News staff

The Interior Department said in a press release today it is starting the first-ever public comment period to look at whether to rescind executive orders presidents made to create national monuments, with the list of monuments under review including Montana’s Upper Missouri River Breaks.

“A public comment period is not required for monument designations under the Antiquities Act; however, Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke and President Trump both strongly believe that local input is a critical component of federal land management,” a release from Interior said this afternoon.

“The Department of the Interior is the steward of America’s greatest treasures and the manager of one-fifth of our land. Part of being a good steward is being a good neighbor and listening to the American people who we represent,” Montana-native Zinke said in the release. “Today’s action, initiating a formal public comment process finally gives a voice to local communities and states when it comes to Antiquities Act monument designations. There is no pre-determined outcome on any monument. I look forward to hearing from and engaging with local communities and stakeholders as this process continues.”

The Antiquities Act of 1906 endowed the president with the power to designate national monuments in “the smallest area compatible with the proper care and management of the objects to be protected” on lands the president deems “historic landmarks, historic and prehistoric structures, [or] other objects of historic or scientific interest.”

President Donald Trump issued an executive order April 26 directing Interior to review a list of monuments to deem if they had been properly designated.

The Missouri Breaks monument was controversial from the start, as was a Wild and Scenic River designation of part of the same area in the 1970s.

After Interior conducted a series of public meetings including some attended by Secretary of the Interior Bruce Babbitt, President William Clinton designated 378,000 acres of federal land in the Breaks a monument.

Some landowners in the area and others attacked the designation as presidential overreach.

The same happened when President Teddy Roosevelt, of whose administration the Antiquities Act is considered a legacy, designated the first monuments after the act’s passage with a lawsuit filed over his designation of the Grand Canyon as a national monument.

Interior is seeking comments on a number of monuments designated from 1996 on, saying in the release:

Comments may be submitted online after May 12 at http://www.regulations.gov by entering “DOI-2017-0002” in the Search bar and clicking “Search,” or by mail to Monument Review, MS-1530, U.S. Department of the Interior, 1849 C Street NW, Washington, DC 20240.

DATES: The Department will shortly publish a notice in the Federal Register officially opening the public comment period. Written comments relating to the Bears Ears National Monument must be submitted within 15 days of publication of that notice. Written comments relating to all other designations subject to Executive Order 13792 must be submitted within 60 days of that date.

Monument

Location

Year(s)

Acreage

Basin and Range

Nevada

2015

703,585

Bears Ears

Utah

2016

1,353,000

Berryessa Snow Mountain

California

2015

330,780

Canyons of the Ancients

Colorado

2000

175,160

Carrizo Plain

California

2001

204,107

Cascade Siskiyou

Oregon

2000/2017

100,000

Craters of the Moon

Idaho

1924/2000

737,525

Giant Sequoia

California

2000

327,760

Gold Butte

Nevada

2016

296,937

Grand Canyon-Parashant

Arizona

2000

1,014,000

Grand Staircase-Escalante

Utah

1996

1,700,000

Hanford Reach

Washington

2000

194,450.93

Ironwood Forest

Arizona

2000

128,917

Mojave Trails

California

2016

1,600,000

Organ Mountains-Desert Peaks

New Mexico

2014

496,330

Rio Grande del Norte

New Mexico

2013

242,555

Sand to Snow

California

2016

154,000

San Gabriel Mountains

California

2014

346,177

Sonoran Desert

Arizona

2001

486,149

Upper Missouri River Breaks

Montana

2001

377,346

Vermilion Cliffs

Arizona

2000

279,568

 

NATIONAL MONUMENTS BEING REVIEWED TO DETERMINE WHETHER THE DESIGNATION OR EXPANSION WAS MADE WITHOUT ADEQUATE PUBLIC OUTREACH AND COORDINATION WITH RELEVANT STAKEHOLDERS

Katahadin Woods and Waters

Maine           

2016        

87,563

The Department of the Interior seeks public comments related to: (1) Whether national monuments in addition to those listed above should be reviewed because they were designated or expanded after January 1, 1996 “without adequate public outreach and coordination with relevant stakeholders;” and (2) the application of factors (i) through (vii) set forth above to the listed national monuments or to other Presidential designations or expansions of designations meeting the criteria of the Executive Order. With respect to factor (vii), comments should address other factors the Secretary might consider for this review.

In a separate but related process, certain Marine National Monuments will also be reviewed. As directed by section 4 of Executive Order 13795 of April 28, 2017, “Implementing An America-First Offshore Energy Strategy” (82 FR 20815, May 3, 2017), the Department of Commerce will lead the review of the Marine National Monuments in consultation with the Secretary of the Interior. To assist in that consultation, the Secretary will accept comments related to the application of factors (i) through (vii) in Executive

Order 13792 as set forth above to the following Marine National Monuments:

MARINE NATIONAL MONUMENTS BEING REVIEWED PURSUANT TO EXECUTIVE ORDERS 13795 AND 13792

Marianas Trench

CNMI/Pacific Ocean

2009

60,938,240  

  

Northeast Canyons and Seamounts                

Atlantic Ocean

2016

3,114,320

Pacific Remote Islands

Pacific Ocean

2009

55,608,320

Papahanaumokuakea

Hawaii/Pacific Ocean

2006/2016     

89,600,000

Rose Atoll

American Samoa/Pacific Ocean 

2009

8,609,045

 

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