President Trump signed an executive order that may affect a large swath of Colorado land. It instructs Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke to review national monument lands that are more than 100,000 acres if they were designated in the last 21 years.
Zinke anticipates reviewing up to 40 monuments as part of the order, including the Canyons of the Ancients National Monument in Colorado.
In remarks issued prior to signing, Trump called the designations an “egregious abuse of federal power” and indicated his intent to revoke some of the declarations issued during the Obama era.
“Altogether the previous administration bypassed states to place 265 million acres … of land and water under federal control through the abuse of the monuments designation,” Trump said.
The executive order calls only for a “review” of monuments, though Trump named a high-profile monument in the Rocky Mountains: the Bears Ears National Monument in Utah.
Members of Colorado’s D.C. delegation were quick to respond.
“The President's action is an affront to our communities and tribes that have spent years working to protect areas of cultural and historic significance,” Sen. Michael Bennet, a Democrat, said in a statement. “It is also an infringement on our rural communities, which rely on National Monuments and other public lands to support their outdoor recreation economy.”
Sen. Cory Gardner, a Republican, expressed his intent to “continue to protect the public lands in our state” via Twitter.
In Colorado we respect & value public lands. As a champion of the outdoors, I will continue to protect the public lands in our state. https://t.co/0YBO5ei2Go
— Cory Gardner (@SenCoryGardner) April 26, 2017
Reps. Jared Polis (D), Ed Perlmutter (D) and Diana DeGette (D) also took to Twitter.
— Rep. Jared Polis (@RepJaredPolis) April 26, 2017
— Rep. Ed Perlmutter (@RepPerlmutter) April 26, 2017
This edict threatens public lands such as Browns Canyon and is an affront to all who have worked to safeguard them. https://t.co/usrfrcEPF6
— Rep. Diana DeGette (@RepDianaDeGette) April 26, 2017
Rep. Doug Lamborn released the following statement:
The review of the monuments designated under the Antiquities Act is both warranted and necessary. Today’s executive order signifies a shift in power from the federal government to the local communities who support these monuments and deserve to have a voice in the process. As the President and Secretary Zinke review the monuments in Colorado, I urge them to consider multi-user groups and recreation, community outreach, and the ability to fund and manage these important lands.
At the time of publication, no statements were availble from Reps. Ken Buck, Scott Tipton or Mike Coffman.
The order asks Zinke for a preliminary review in 45 days, followed by a full report in 120.
Editors Note: This story was updated to include statements from Lamborn and Perlmutter released after publication.