August 24, 2017

Pacific Legal Foundation Applauds Administration’s Monument Review

By Pacific Legal Foundation Applauds Administration’s Monument Review

Department of Interior and Secretary Zinke announced the conclusion of an extensive, public review of national monuments August 24, 2017. The agency has not disclosed its recommendations for individual monuments, which will be made public after the President reviews them.

But the report leaves no doubt that past Antiquities Act abuse has been a serious problem and that President Trump has the authority to modify existing monument boundaries, including significant reductions in size if necessary or appropriate to comply with the text and purpose of the Act.

 

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Massachusetts Lobstermen’s Association v. Ross

The Antiquities Act of 1906 authorizes the President to declare monuments on “land owned or controlled by the Federal government” to protect their historic or scientific value. On his way out of office, President Obama used this power to declare a 5,000 square mile area of the ocean to be the Northeast Canyons and Seamount Marine National Monument. Because the ocean is not “land owned or controlled by the Federal government,” PLF represents a coalition of fishing industry associations in a lawsuit challenging this abuse of the statute, which renders off-limits areas long used for sustainable commercial fishing near New England and the East Coast.

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