President Donald Trump is expected to order a review of national monument designations Wednesday. This includes Bears Ears and Grand Staircase-Escalante in southern Utah.
The 1906 Antiquities Act gives presidents the authority to protect land from mining, drilling and development. A White House official told the Salt Lake Tribune that President Trump wants to examine whether the size and scope of these monuments are within the law’s intent. Utah Congressman Rob Bishop has called for Trump to withdraw the designation or at least scale it back in size.
“There is nobody in the Utah delegation Senate or House who supports it,” Bishop said. “There is no one in state administration who supports it. You can’t find a state legislator who supports it. You can’t even find a commissioner who supports it even though the only elected Navajo in the state is in that particular county and she is opposed to it.”
But many Navajo, Zuni and Hopi leaders do support protecting their ancestral cultural and sacred sites. Legal experts say it would take an act of Congress to eliminate the designation all together.