Trump considers ways to reverse Obama Bears Ears land grab

The controversial Bears Ears National Monument was designated by Obama in December and covers more than a million acres in rural Utah. It has been praised by conservationists, but slammed by locals.

Trump “Open” To Unprecedented Repeal Of Obama National Monument

President-elect Donald Trump is said to be open to the idea of repealing President Obama’s latest national monument — a potentially unprecedented move by an incoming administration.

Obama created the Bears Ears National Monument last month. The monument — which is similar to a national park — includes 1.35 million acres in Utah’s rugged and picturesque San Juan County. The creation of the monument was a victory for conservationists and some Native American groups, but was sharply criticized by Utah lawmakers and some locals who say it will decimate the local economy.

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Now, it appears that Trump could reverse Obama’s designation.

Utah Sen. Mike Lee, who opposed the monument, has “talked to high level officials in the Trump administration and they were open to suggestions Trump could roll back Obama’s Bears Ears designation,” a spokesperson told BuzzFeed News.

Lee, a Republican, has been among the most vocal critics of the designation and has championed greater state and local control of public lands in the West. Trump’s representatives did not respond to a BuzzFeed News request for comment.

Still, Trump has in the past avoided giving specifics about his strategy with public lands, and the communication between his team and Lee’s is among the clearest indicators yet that he could move to dismantle Obama’s late-term conservation legacy projects that added regulations to existing public land.

AP photo

How exactly Trump might do that remains unclear. In a speech Wednesday on the Senate floor, Lee argued that “what can be done through unilateral executive action can also be undone the same way.”

Lee was referring to Obama’s use of the Antiquities Act of 1906, a law which gives presidents broad authority to designate national monuments without the approval of Congress. Lee also referenced a recent Wall Street Journal op-ed in which legal experts Todd Gaziano and John Yoo argued Trump has the authority to rescind Obama’s monument designations.

“In other words, none of Mr. Obama’s monument designations or drilling bans is permanent,” Gaziano and Yoo wrote.

No president has ever reversed a predecessor’s national monument designations and it remains legally uncharted waters. Other legal experts have previously told BuzzFeed News that reversing national monuments would take an act of Congress, though with the same party controlling the presidency, the Senate, and the House that could certainly happen as well.

In the meantime, Bears Ears remains an epicenter of the ongoing conflict over who should control public lands. Utah’s attorney general is preparing litigation to undo Obama’s declaration, and observers on both sides of the issue are watching for clues on how Trump will handle the federal ownership of vast Western lands.

Jim Dalrymple II



Free Range Report

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  1. Our country was never intended to operate like a dictatorship. We are a Representative Republic. The Presidents were never meant to have unilateral powers to create law, it is why we have a Congress.

    Executive Orders and Executive Actions were created for the President when Congress was not in session, but what it has morphed into is the “King’s power”. Both parties are guilty of abusing this and it must be stopped.

    We want our Republic back.

    Mr. Shannon Poe
    President American Mining Rights Association, AMRA

    1. …Constitutional Republic.

      Where the characteristics of government are different from those found in a Representative Republic, primarily by limiting the scope and power of representatives.

    1. We think so too. We sourced this from the Save the Bears Ears Facebook Page, which, as you know, is run by locals in San Juan County fighting the federal designation of their home.

  2. Shannon : As a Bundy Ranch vet, Sugar Pine Mine vet, and as one of the seven acquitted Malhure occupiers, I can claim some credentials in this lands dispute. We view the actions of the fed as nothing less than a war on rural america, being prosecuted by out of control agencies such as the EPA, BLM and USFS. I can’t resist citing a line from the Declaration of Independence. It is one of the complaints our founders listed against the British Govt. : “They have erected a multitude of offices, and sent out swarms of agents to harass us and eat out our substance” Remarkable ! As Ammon has said, we wish to get the ranchers back to ranching, the loggers back to logging, and the miners back to mining. If we can roll back these mafia like agencies through legislative action and favorable court decisions, it will be cause for celebration, but we have to remember the stakes involved. The destruction of livelihoods, economic self-sufficiency, and cultural heritage simply cannot be allowed, regardless of any novel laws or corrupt court decisions.

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