SALIDA, Colo. (CBS4) – Conservation groups worry three national monuments in Colorado could lose their special status under the Trump administration as the president is expected to sign an executive order Wednesday.
The order would require a review of national monuments named over the last 21 years. They include Browns Canyon near Salida, Chimney Rock near Pagosa Springs, and Canyons of the Ancients near Cortez.
Browns Canyon became a national monument just two years ago.
“This matters to us as a community, as a state,” said Friends of Browns Canyon spokeswoman Linda Gibas. “It is a non-partisan issue.”
Vast stretches of the U.S. have become national parks and monuments under the Antiquities Act, which allowed the last three presidents to protect them under executive orders. Now the Interior Department is expected to review those national monument designations.
The White House wants to make sure that the Antiquities Act has not been abused.
“Of course it is very upsetting but I kind of saw it coming down the pike because there has been a lot of push back against the monument designations,” said Gibas.
Advocates argue that no president has ever attempted to revoke a national monument and legal scholars believe it is illegal. They have taken to social media to sound off about this issue.
“With this review, the Trump administration has launched an attack on Colorado’s heritage and the iconic public lands that are critical to our economy and way of life. The fact that federal bureaucrats are attempting to overturn protections for our lands is deeply offensive to those of us who live in the Colorado and the West,” Scott Braden, Wilderness and Public Lands Advocate at Conservation Colorado said in a statement.
Some Republicans call it a federal land grab.
“President Obama was pretty free with his pen, which we were very happy about, but there are other people who weren’t,” said Gibas.