House Resources PR Staff Response to “New Scholarship Arguing ‘Presidents Lack the Authority to Abolish or Diminish National Monuments’”

Here (original post here):

I was just reading your blog “New Scholarship Arguing, ‘Presidents Lack the Authority to Abolish or Diminish National Monuments.’” Just wanted to send some additional info. Let me know if you have any questions!

Amending Proclamations:

  • This legal paper asserts that the President has the authority to revoke or reduce national monument designations
  • This is a great op-ed for more background: Trump Can Reverse Obama’s Last-Minute Land Grab
  • Presidents – both Republican and Democratic – have significantly reduced the size of monuments. Taft reduced one of his own designations by 95%.
    • Taft, Petrified Forest, Arizona, 25,625 acres
    • Roosevelt, Grand Canyon II, Arizona, 71,854 acres
    • Kennedy, Natural Bridges, Utah, 320 acres
    • Taft, Mount Olympus, Washington, 160 acres
    • Wilson, Mount Olympus, Washington, 313,280 acres
    • Coolidge, Mount Olympus, Washington, 640 acres
    • Taft, Navajo, Arizona, 320 acres
    • Eisenhower, Colorado, Colorado, 211 acres
    • Kennedy, Bandelier, New Mexico, 3,925 acres
    • Eisenhower, Hovenweep, Utah/Colorado, 40 acres
    • Roosevelt, Craters of the Moon, Idaho, R.O.W.
    • Roosevelt, Wupatki, Arizona, 52 acres
    • Eisenhower, Glacier Bay, Alaska, 4,193 acres (water)
    • Eisenhower, Arches, Utah, 720 acres
    • Eisenhower, Great Sand Dunes, Colorado, 9,880 acres
    • Roosevelt, White Sands, New Mexico, R.O.W.
    • Eisenhower, Black Canyon of the Gunnison, Colorado, 470 acres
    • Truman, Santa Rosa Island, Florida, 4,700 acres
  • As you can see, there’s precedent for both large diminishments (largest is 313,280 acres) and diminishments specifically in the state of Utah (3 total). The courts have generally upheld very broad discretion for the President to determine what is the “smallest area compatible” to manage the Monument – meaning they can also diminish if they believe the area originally created is not the smallest area necessary to protect the resource.

Don’t hesitate to reach out moving forward. (and Go Blue!)

Molly Block

Press Secretary

House Committee on Natural Resources


2 thoughts on “House Resources PR Staff Response to “New Scholarship Arguing ‘Presidents Lack the Authority to Abolish or Diminish National Monuments’”

  1. Shonda May 18, 2017 / 11:22 am

    The unchallenged actions of a few presidents from 60+ years ago ≠ ‘precedent.’ In fact, the lack of monument reductions in the last half century (which featured several anti-public lands presidents) signals the power does not exist.

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