WASHINGTON D.C. ― The Department of the Interior announced the first ever formal public comment period for members of the public to officially weigh in on monument designations under the Antiquities Act of 1906, and the Department released a list of monuments under review under the President’s Executive Order 13792, issued April 26, 2017.
A public comment period is not required for monument designations under the Antiquities Act; however, Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke and President Trump both strongly believe that local input is a critical component of federal land management.
Comments may be submitted online after May 12 at http://www.regulations.gov by entering “DOI-2017-0002” in the Search bar and clicking “Search,” or by mail to Monument Review, MS-1530, U.S. Department of the Interior, 1849 C Street NW, Washington, DC 20240.
DATES: The Department will shortly publish a notice in the Federal Register officially opening the public comment period. Written comments relating to the Bears Ears National Monument must be submitted within 15 days of publication of that notice. Written comments relating to all other designations subject to Executive Order 13792 must be submitted within 60 days of that date.
“The Department of the Interior is the steward of America’s greatest treasures and the manager of one-fifth of our land. Part of being a good steward is being a good neighbor and listening to the American people who we represent,” Secretary Zinke said. “Today’s action, initiating a formal public comment process finally gives a voice to local communities and states when it comes to Antiquities Act monument designations. There is no pre-determined outcome on any monument. I look forward to hearing from and engaging with local communities and stakeholders as this process continues.”
Executive Order 13792 of April 26, 2017 (82 FR 20429, May 1, 2017), directs the Secretary of the Interior to review certain National Monuments designated or expanded under the Antiquities Act of 1906, 54 U.S.C. 320301-320303 (Act).
Specifically, Section 2 of the Executive Order directs the Secretary to conduct a review of all Presidential designations or expansions of designations under the Antiquities Act made since January 1, 1996, where the designation covers more than 100,000 acres, where the designation after expansion covers more than 100,000 acres, or where the Secretary determines that the designation or expansion was made without adequate public outreach and coordination with relevant stakeholders, to determine whether each designation or expansion conforms to the policy set forth in section 1 of the order.
Among other provisions, Section 1 states that designations should reflect the Act’s “requirements and original objectives” and “appropriately balance the protection of landmarks, structures, and objects against the appropriate use of Federal lands and the effects on surrounding lands and communities.” 82 FR 20429 (May 1, 2017).
In making the requisite determinations, the Secretary is directed to consider:
the requirements and original objectives of the Act, including the Act’s requirement that reservations of land not exceed “the smallest area compatible with the proper care and management of the objects to be protected”;
whether designated lands are appropriately classified under the Act as “historic landmarks, historic and prehistoric structures, [or] other objects of historic or scientific interest”;
the effects of a designation on the available uses of designated Federal lands, including consideration of the multiple-use policy of section 102(a)(7) of the Federal Land Policy and Management Act (43 U.S.C. 1701(a)(7)), as well as the effects on the available uses of Federal lands beyond the monument boundaries;
the effects of a designation on the use and enjoyment of non-Federal lands within or beyond monument boundaries;
concerns of State, tribal, and local governments affected by a designation, including the economic development and fiscal condition of affected States, tribes, and localities;
the availability of Federal resources to properly manage designated areas; and
such other factors as the Secretary deems appropriate.
82 FR 20429-20430 (May 1, 2017).
The National Monuments being initially reviewed are listed in the following tables:
NATIONAL MONUMENTS BEING INITIALLY REVIEWED PURSUANT TO CRITERIA IN EXECUTIVE ORDER 13792
Basin and Range
Berryessa Snow Mountain
Canyons of the Ancients
Craters of the Moon
Organ Mountains-Desert Peaks
Rio Grande del Norte
Sand to Snow
San Gabriel Mountains
Upper Missouri River Breaks
NATIONAL MONUMENTS BEING REVIEWED TO DETERMINE WHETHER THE DESIGNATION OR EXPANSION WAS MADE WITHOUT ADEQUATE PUBLIC OUTREACH AND COORDINATION WITH RELEVANT STAKEHOLDERS
Katahadin Woods and Waters
The Department of the Interior seeks public comments related to: (1) Whether national monuments in addition to those listed above should be reviewed because they were designated or expanded after January 1, 1996 “without adequate public outreach and coordination with relevant stakeholders;” and (2) the application of factors (i) through (vii) set forth above to the listed national monuments or to other Presidential designations or expansions of designations meeting the criteria of the Executive Order. With respect to factor (vii), comments should address other factors the Secretary might consider for this review.
In a separate but related process, certain Marine National Monuments will also be reviewed. As directed by section 4 of Executive Order 13795 of April 28, 2017, “Implementing An America-First Offshore Energy Strategy” (82 FR 20815, May 3, 2017), the Department of Commerce will lead the review of the Marine National Monuments in consultation with the Secretary of the Interior. To assist in that consultation, the Secretary will accept comments related to the application of factors (i) through (vii) in Executive Order 13792 as set forth above to the following Marine National Monuments:
MARINE NATIONAL MONUMENTS BEING REVIEWED PURSUANT TO EXECUTIVE ORDERS 13795 AND 13792