Trump Energy Adviser: New Executive Order May Deal With Antiquities Act
The Trump White House may be preparing an executive order dealing with the Antiquities Act, a sweeping measure used by presidents to fence off large areas of the American West.
“I don’t think we’re quite done with the executive orders,” Mike McKenna, president of MWR Strategies, who was a senior member of the Trump administration’s energy transition team, said yesterday. There are more order to come and “probably something clarifying where we are going with Antiquities,” McKenna said in a speech covered by E&E News in Washington, D.C. He didn’t elaborate further.
The Antiquities Act of 1906 gives the president authority to proclaim national monuments on federal lands, blocking any other uses for those areas. Originally passed to protect landmarks or other objects of historic and scientific interest, more recent uses of the Antiquities Act have been criticized by officials in western states as unwanted federal interference.
The debate over the Antiquities Act flared up again in the final weeks of the Obama administration, when the outgoing president proclaimed the Bears Ears National Monument, an area of roughly 1.35 million acres in southeastern Utah.
The president’s decision ignored months of warnings from Utah’s congressional delegation, who argued there are better ways to protect the Bear Ears region than a national monument declaration.
“Use of the Antiquities Act … will be met with fierce local opposition and will further polarize federal land-use discussions for years, if not decades,” the state’s four congressmen and two senators – all Republicans – wrote in a February 2016 letter to the Obama White House.
“The most effective land management policy is inclusive and engaging, not veiled and unilateral,” said the letter, according to the Moab Sun News.