President Donald Trump will sign an executive order this week instructing Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke to review all designations of national monuments by his predecessors, according to The Salt Lake Tribune.
The order, likely to be signed on Wednesday, will call for Zinke and the Department of the Interior to examine all recent designations and determine whether they are examples of presidential overreach, based on a century-old law that presidents can designate land without congressional approval.
It is understood that the order is mainly targeting Barack Obama’s decision in 2016 to decree two more national monuments into federal ownership — the new Bear Ears Buttes monument in Utah and the Gold Butte monument in Nevada — on the grounds of conservation and protection, using the 1906 Antiquities act.
The move was overwhelmingly opposed by Republican lawmakers, with Utah Republican Sen. Mike Lee describing it as an “arrogant act” designed to overrule the state legislature and public opposition to its seizure.
As part of his administration’s first White House budget released in March, Trump promised to end the federal acquisition of land, which rose by record levels under Barack Obama, and instead invest in preserving its current holdings as part of a series of interior reforms.
The budget proposes that it will “reduce funding for lower-priority activities,” such as new major acquisitions of federal land. The Budget reduces land acquisition funding by more than $120 million from the 2017 annualized CR level and would instead focus available discretionary funds on investing in, and maintaining, existing national parks, refuges, and public lands.