April 26, 2017 — President Donald Trump is ordering a review of the designations for more than two dozen national monuments, including ecologically rich marine preserves in the Pacific such as Papahanaumokuakea, Marianas Trench and the Pacific Remote Islands.
Through an executive order he is expected to sign Wednesday, Trump will instruct Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke to engage in a sweeping review of many national monuments created by presidential proclamation since 1996.
The Papahanaumokuakea Marine National Monument in the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands, which was dramatically enlarged by President Barack Obama last summer despite the opposition of the local fishing industry, would be included in the review. Opponents of Obama’s decision have taken their complaints to Washington.
In a Tuesday press briefing held at the White House and by telephone with reporters around the country, Zinke said he has been asked to evaluate the monuments created in the past 20 years that encompass more than 100,000 acres to see whether local communities should be given additional input into their scope and restrictions.
He said he would look specifically at monuments that have been made off-limits to what he called “traditional uses,” such as farming, ranching, timber harvesting, mining, oil and gas exploration, motorized recreation and fishing. An important criteria would be whether jobs were created or eliminated by the monuments, he said.
Zinke estimated 24-40 monuments were likely to come under review.