Letter: President doesn’t have power to dissolve national monuments
I am adamant that the Bears Ears National Monument be restored to the full breadth and width given by President Obama’s Proclamation 9558 on Dec. 28, 2016. Donald Trump’s proclamation 9681 on Dec. 4 2017, has not been empowered by the Antiquities Act of 1906 or by section 320301 of title 54, United States Code cited on page 58085 4th paragraph. Neither law gives the president the power to dissolve national monuments.
The lawsuits, when fully heard, brought forward by the Sovereign Nations of the Ute Mountain Tribe, Navajo Nation, Uintah Ouray tribes, Hopi Nation and Zuni tribes should put that point to rest. These are also the tribes that put together the management plan for the Bears Ears Monument that is meant to protect their antiquities.
Five tribes, local citizens, state agencies and four federal agencies participated in a six-year-long public process to discuss how to best manage this huge area that is full of fragile indigenous antiquities. Then, in less than a year, and with no more than a sophomoric rewrite of Obama’s 9558 proclamation, Trump dissolved it. He cut the heart out of the local economy, ancient history and proper protections for our national treasure in the Bears Ears area with only four, weak, whereases.
The premise put forward on page 85082 paragraph 3, that the area was not plotted as the smallest area that needed protecting, can only be said by someone who is unfamiliar with the richness of antiquities and vastness of the area. Though it may be true that according to the first whereas on page 58085 the objects are protected, the sacred areas are not protected, unless under monument protection.
The second whereas postulates, with no proof, that this deletion is in the public interest. I would hypothesize the opposite, that the monument would preserve the antiquities treasure, improve the local economy, grant a more cohesive protection to the Bears Ears antiquities and preserve the trust of the tens of thousands of people that worked to make it a monument.
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