DENVER (CBS4) – President Trump signed an executive order Wednesday requiring the review of dozens of national monuments designated by past administrations over the last two decades.
The move could strip protections for federal lands larger than 100,000 acres in Colorado and other states. That includes Canyons of the Ancients near Cortez.
During an appearance at the Interior Department, the president said the order will ends what he calls an “egregious abuse of federal power.”
“The previous administration used a 100 year old law known as the ‘Antiquities Act’ to unilaterally put millions of acres of land and water under strict federal control,” Trump remarked. “Eliminating the ability of the people who live there to decide how best to use that land. Today we are putting the states back in charge.”
Browns Canyon near Salida, which is less than 100,000 acres, became a national monument just two years ago.
“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 Linda Gibas, spokeswoman for Friends of Browns Canyon.
President Barack Obama angered Utah Republicans when he created the Bears Ears National Monument in late December with more than 1 million acres of land.
Environmental advocates worry that Trump’s order could mean a fewer protections on federal land, and open new areas to oil and gas drilling.