Former Interior Secretary rips Trump’s “illegal”, “unpopular” attempt to revoke national monuments

Former Interior Secretary Sally Jewell offered a pointed criticism of the current administration’s views on public lands — particularly of its decision to review 27 national monuments, with an eye towards altering or removing them. Jewell gave the remarks in a keynote address at Outdoor Retailer, the Outdoor Industry Association’s annual trade show in Utah.

“President Trump is putting himself on the wrong side of history,” Jewell said. “If he acts to revoke national monuments, he will go down as one of the most anti-conservation presidents in the history of this nation. And our national parks, our national monuments, and our public lands are what helps make this nation great.”

In April, Trump ordered the Department of the Interior to conduct a review of 27 national monument designations from the past 20 years. Current Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke is leading the review and must provide recommendations to the White House on altering or revoking the monuments by August 24th. He has already recommended that Bears Ears National Monument in Utah be significantly cut in size.

Jewell’s speech addressed the review’s unpopularity, including the unprecedented number of public comments submitted to the Interior Department of which 98 percent were in support of keeping national monuments as they are. She also brought up that “the president does not have the authority to change monuments. Only Congress does.” Credible legal scholars, including 121 law professors, have agreed that the Antiquities Act does not grant the president the authority to eliminate or significantly alter a national park or national monument.

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