U.S. Sen. Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, today joined President Donald Trump, Vice President Mike Pence, and Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke for the signing ceremony of an executive order directing the Department of the Interior to conduct a review of national monuments designated under the Antiquities Act since 1996.
Secretary Zinke will review onshore and marine monument designations over 100,000 acres in size, and provide recommendations to the president for changes to the scope and size of those monuments within the next 120 days.
“I strongly support President Trump’s order to review the largest national monuments designated over the past two decades,” Murkowski said. “During the past administration, we saw the Antiquities Act result in sweeping designations that frequently ignored local opposition. This review is a good step forward in our efforts to reform the monument designation process to ensure the concerns of those who stand to be impacted are heard and respected.”
The Obama administration designated a total of 554 million acres—an area five times the size of California, and more than the previous 18 presidents combined—as national and marine monuments. The scale and extent of those designations sharply contrast with the explicit wording of the Antiquities Act, which requires the reservation of “the smallest area compatible with the proper care and management of the objects to be protected.”
Murkowski is a leading congressional advocate for Antiquities Act reform. Earlier this year, she and 27 Republican colleagues introduced S. 33, the Improved National Monument Designation Process Act. The bill would facilitate greater local input and require state approval before national monuments can be designated on federal lands and waters.Murkowski is chairman of the Committee on Energy and Natural Resources.