Trump slams 'massive federal land grab,' calls for review of national monuments

PHOTO: President Donald Trump, flanked by Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke, left, and Vice President Mike Pence, speaks at the Interior Department in Washington, April 26, 2017, before signing an Antiquities Executive Order.PlayCarolyn Kaster/AP Photo
WATCH Trump slams 'massive federal land grab' and calls for review of national monuments

President Trump today signed an executive order calling for a review of lands designated as national monuments, saying the practice had turned into a "massive federal land grab."

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The review will focus on the millions of acres in the U.S. that have been designated national monuments under the Antiquities Act in the past 21 years, which covers the administrations of Barack Obama and George W. Bush and the second term of Bill Clinton.

Trump criticized Obama's decision to put "over 265 million acres ... under federal control through the abuse of the monuments designation."

"The Antiquities Act does not give the federal government unlimited power to lock up millions of acres of land and water," he said. The law, enacted in 1906, authorizes presidents to declare land a federal monument, restricting its use.

Trump added that it was "time to end this abusive practice," which he said has "gotten worse and worse."

The order, the Review of Designations Under the Antiquities Act, is a step "to end another egregious abuse of federal power and to give that power back to the states and to the people, where it belongs," Trump, flanked by Vice President Mike Pence and Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke, said during a brief ceremony.

The order calls for Zinke to conduct a review of monuments over 100,000 acres that were given the designation in the past 21 years — often, Zinke said, without necessary input from affected communities. He can then make recommendations about whether to rescind designations or resize monuments.

Trump praised the work of the Department of the Interior, saying it appreciates "the splendor and the beauty of America's natural resources."

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