"President Trump will sign an executive order Wednesday instructing the Interior Department to review national monument designations his three predecessors have made over the past 21 years, according to administration officials and GOP lawmakers, a move that could upend protections that previous presidents have put in place in Utah and elsewhere across the country.
Presidents of both parties have invoked their executive authority under the 1906 Antiquities Act to provide safeguards for federal lands and waters. But some of these moves — including Barack Obama’s designation of the 1.35 million-acre Bears Ears National Monument in December and Bill Clinton’s 1996 declaration of the Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument, both in Utah, have sparked fierce criticism from Republicans.
Members of Utah’s congressional delegation started lobbying Trump shortly after his November win to take unilateral action to undo the designation for Bears Ears, which they said should have been protected instead through legislation. While the White House has not yet indicated whether it would remove protections for the new monument, a White House official said in an email Monday that Trump was seeking to ensure the Antiquities Act has not been abused at times."