Today, we learned that the Trump Administration may be preparing to remove protections for millions of acres of public lands and oceans that were designated as national monuments under the authority of the Antiquities Act. This initiative is unprecedented, ill-advised and unlikely to withstand legal scrutiny. The Coalition to Protect America’s National Parks has already voiced our support for the protection and preservation of the monuments that were subject to this review.
From the beginning of this review process, it seemed obvious that “the deck was stacked” against the intent of past presidents, Republican and Democrat, to preserve special places forever. The Coalition is particularly appalled that Katahdin Woods and Waters National Monument was targeted for compromise in spite of hundreds of thousands of public comments that overwhelmingly supported this national monument as designated. Now it seems likely that this new park might be opened up for logging and other uses that would harm wildlife habitat and visitor experience or that the boundaries of the monument might be reduced.
Taken as a whole, the administration’s proposals directly contradict the expressed opinions and urging of some three million Americans who protested what appears to be a truly ugly process of political pandering. This complete disregard for public opinion shows that the Administration is making decisions for the benefit of special interest groups, not the American public.