On Friday, May 5, the U.S. Department of the Interior announced the first-ever formal comment period for the public to weigh in on monuments of more than 100,000 acres that have been designated since January 1, 1996. The review was stipulated by President Trump’s Executive Order 13792, issued April 26, 2017.
A comment period is not required for monument designation under the Antiquities Act, however, the current administration believes that local input is a critical component of federal land management. A list of 21 monuments with more than 100,000 acres was released to be considered in the review.
In addition to Giant Sequoia National Monument in Tulare and Fresno counties, established April 15, 2000 — which is managed by Sequoia National Forest, contains several groves of giant sequoias, and shares boundaries with Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks — other California monuments included in the list are Berryessa Snow Mountain, Carrizo Plain, Mojave Trails, Sand to Snow, and the San Gabriel Mountains. For 26 of the properties, comments are due in 60 days once the comment period has been open via listing in the Federal Register on May 12. One additional property, the Katahadin Woods and Waters in Maine, consisting of 87,563 acres, is being reviewed to determine whether that the designation, or its expansion, was made without adequate outreach. Five other marine monuments totaling more than 200 million acres are also being reviewed pursuant to the executive order.
For the most recent (2016) of the designated monuments under review — Bears Ears National Monument in Utah — comments must be submitted in 15 days from the Federal Register listing. Comments may be submitted online after May 12 to www.regulations.gov (enter DOI-2017-0002 in the Search bar) or mail comments to Monument Review, MS-1530, U.S. Department of the Interior, 1849 C Street NW, Washington, D.C. 20240.