Lands Activists Urge Trump to Revoke Obama's National Monuments
By Ben Wolfgang - The Washington Times
Western lands activists are urging Donald Trump to test the limits of executive power by revoking millions of acres that President Obama set aside as national monuments, setting up a landmark legal battle over one of the nation’s most frequently used environmental protections.
Such a step would be historic. No president has undesignated a national monument created by his predecessor, and it’s unclear whether he has the authority to do so.
But Obama administration critics say now is the time to try to establish a precedent. They say Mr. Obama has wildly abused presidential power in using the 1906 Antiquities Act to cordon off huge swaths of land and sea — mostly along the West and East coasts — to prevent energy exploration. In total, he has earmarked at least 553 million acres of land and water as national monuments, far more than any other president.
National monument markings prohibit oil and gas drilling and coal mining, meaning Mr. Obama has used his monument authority to effectively shut down huge areas of potential energy exploration and has drawn praise from environmental activists in the process.