Interior Department Recommends Revising at Least Three National Monuments

By Eric Snyder

Last April, President Trump ordered the U.S. Department of Interior (DOI) to review up to 40 national monument designations dating back to 1996 and recommend whether any should be rescinded, resized or modified. The DOI has recommended that at least three monuments be reduced in size: the 1996 Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument (1.88 million acres), Bears Ear National Monument (1.35 million acres), both in Utah, and Cascade-Siskiyou in Washington. President Trump will now consider the recommendations. 

At issue is the 110-year-old Antiquities Act, a law that gives the president authority to preserve land with significant natural, cultural or scientific features. Hundreds of millions of acres have been set aside over the decades leading many to question whether the footprints are larger than necessary. SEMA supports the review of national monument designations and legislation in the U.S. Congress to curtail the President’s power to unilaterally designate national monuments by requiring their approval by Congress and the impacted state legislature(s). The issue is consequential since national monuments automatically prohibit new roads or trails for motorized vehicles and require a new land-management plan be drafted that could lead to more road closures.

For more information, contact Eric Snyder at