Protecting our heritage
President Donald Trump has asked Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke to review national monuments created using the Antiquities Act by presidents Clinton, Bush and Obama since Jan. 1, 1996. The review, the first in the act’s 111-year history, includes those that encompass more than 100,000 acres and leaves room for review of monuments of all sizes considered to have been expanded or designated without adequate public outreach, with an eye to shrinking them or even possibly reversing designations.
We assume Zinke will carefully weigh the loss of tourism and the short- and long-term costs of energy and mineral development to the environment and nearby communities, alongside the benefits to industry.
The executive order currently affects over 50 monuments nationwide.
National monuments have their critics, particularly in the West, but they also have substantial support and provide concrete benefits, such as our own Fort Stanwix National Monument.
It is unlikely that the states can afford to manage these lands or that industry will protect them. Monument designations provide an appropriate vehicle for preserving our country’s unique historic, cultural and natural heritage.