WASHINGTON, DC (CBS4)– A group of senators gathered to show their support for public lands on Tuesday, specifically those targeted in an executive order signed by Pres. Donald Trump.
In May, the Trump administration placed Canyons of the Ancients and 26 other national monuments under a federal review — one that could reduce the monument in size or revoke its monument protection outright.
President Bill Clinton declared Canyons of the Ancients a national monument in 2000 under the Antiquities Act, an executive power used by presidents to establish lands that are considered archaeologically important. The 178,000 acre conservation area near Cortez is considered one of the richest archeological sites in the world. Nearly 4 million artifacts that have been recovered there include arrowheads, tools, pottery and artworks. There are also numerous pueblos that still stand across the expansive monument.
While it’s not believed the Canyons of the Ancients will lose its status, the group expressed their commitment to preserving public lands.
Sen. Michael Bennet, a Democrat representing Colorado, pointed out that it’s not just about the environment, it’s about the economy.
“People have come from all the country, all over the world to see the public lands to enjoy the public lands that we’ve preserved in our state and the last thing we want is for Washington DC to be dictating a different outcome from the one we’ve been able to preserve as a state under the Antiquities Act,” said Bennet.
He also specifically pointed to the Outdoor Retail Show that just announced its relocation to Colorado from Utah because of our state’s record on public lands.
Bennet says the outdoor industry is not dependent on the rest of the economy.