GOP Rep. Rob Bishop, who chairs the House Natural Resource Committee, is pushing Congress to make President Donald Trump’s changes to two national monuments in Utah permanent.
In an interview with the Washington Examiner published Tuesday, Bishop said Trump’s rollback of the Bears Ears and Grand Staircase-Escalante national monuments needs to be codified into law by Congress soon, or risk another president undoing Trump’s act through Executive Order.
“It’s what the locals want. Trump has given them a win by finally listening to the people who live in that area and giving their voice a chance to be heard,” Bishop said. “We want to make sure we codify what the president did to ensure the local people and especially the local Native American tribes get to have real management.”
Both monuments cut by Trump are in Bishop’s home state of Utah.
The monuments cutbacks came as a result of an Executive Order Trump signed in April ordering Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke to review the largest national monuments in the U.S. created under the Antiquities Act. After Zinke conducted the review and submitted a proposal to the White House, Trump cut Bears Ears by around 85 percent and Grand Staircase-Escalante by about half, breaking up each into multiple smaller designations.
The Trump administration is facing multiple lawsuits over the decision, claiming the Antiquities Act only gives the president the authority to designate national monuments. Others believe Trump acted within his power under the act and that the vague law, a little over 400 words in length, implies presidential authority to cut monuments.
The congressional action that Bishop suggests would take the uncertainty out of Trump’s national monument decision.
“We can codify what the president did and not leave it up to the variances of either judicial misinterpretation or some other executive coming in there and changing it again,” Bishop said.
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