By SEMA Washington, D.C., Staff
President Biden issued an Executive Order requiring the U.S. Department of the Interior to conduct a review of the monument boundaries and conditions of several National Monuments, including Grand Staircase-Escalante and Bears Ears National Monuments. The size of both Monuments was reduced during the Trump Administration. It is anticipated that the Biden Interior Department will recommend partly or fully restoring the boundaries to what existed prior to January 20, 2017.
The 110-year-old Antiquities Act provides the president authority to preserve land with significant natural, cultural, or scientific features. It has resulted in hundreds of millions of acres being set aside over the decades leading many to question whether the footprints are larger than necessary. National Monument designations frequently lead to the closure of existing off-road roads and trails. SEMA supports a collaborative approach when making major land-use decisions, including input from local citizens, elected leaders and other stakeholders.
President Biden’s Order directs the Interior Department to consult with other agencies and Tribal governments to determine whether to restore the monument boundaries and conditions. The Secretary of the Interior has 60 days to provide a report of their findings.
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