Issues of concern to people who live in the west: property rights, water rights, endangered species, livestock grazing, energy production, wilderness and western agriculture. Plus a few items on western history, western literature and the sport of rodeo... Frank DuBois served as the NM Secretary of Agriculture from 1988 to 2003. DuBois is a former legislative assistant to a U.S. Senator, a Deputy Assistant Secretary of Interior, and is the founder of the DuBois Rodeo Scholarship.
Wednesday, November 16, 2016
What Does Trump Mean for America's Lands and Waters?
The election of Donald Trump as president of the United States last Tuesday fell like a lightning bolt on the American environmental community. But it has left many environmentalists energized for battle—albeit against an adversary whose positions are in part still ill-defined.
“The next few years will bring some big fights and also some unpredictable fluidity,” Environmental Defense Fund president Fred Krupp wrote on his organization’s website. “We will ferociously defend America’s bedrock environmental protections.“
“If President-Elect Trump and his allies think the results of this election give them a mandate to roll back this progress they are sorely mistaken,” says League of Conservation Voters president Gene Karpinski in a statement. “To the contrary, polls demonstrate bipartisan support for action on climate change and protections for clean air and clean water, and we urge Donald Trump to respect that support.”
The most consequential battleground is likely to be over the new administration’s climate policy. During the campaign Trump promised to “cancel” the Paris Agreement on climate change and to revoke the Obama Administration’s regulations designed to reduce carbon emissions from power plants—the centerpiece of the U.S. effort to meet its commitment under the Paris Agreement. (Read more about Trump’s stance on climate change.)
But climate is not the only issue on which Trump may depart from the Obama Administration’s environmental policy. Here are three others.
Which Public Lands Should Be Preserved As National Monuments?
More than any president before him, President Barack Obama has used his executive authority under the U.S. Antiquities Act to protect federal lands as national monuments. In his time in office, Obama has designated 23 national monuments across the country. His selections have preserved landscapes and seascapes of ecological significance, as well as cultural touchstones such as New York City’s Stonewall Inn—a gay rights landmark—and the home and final resting place of Latino activist César Chávez.
It is unclear that the incoming Trump Administration would have the legal authority or appetite to revoke any of President Obama’s national monuments, absent an act of Congress.
“It would be unprecedented for President Trump to attempt to revoke a national monument designation—and any attempt to do so would likely be invalidated by the courts,” writes John Ruple, an associate research professor at the University of Utah’s S.J. Quinney School of Law and expert on public land management, in an emailed statement.
“The Antiquities Act gives the president the power to designate national monuments, but not the power to revoke prior monument designations, and two prior U.S. Attorneys General have opined that absent express delegation, the president would be without the power of revocation,” he adds. “If President Trump attempts to revoke a national monument designation, that effort will almost certainly be embroiled in litigation, and the revocation would likely fail.”
Presidents can modify existing national monuments, however. Obama used this power to more than quadruple the size of the Papahānaumokuākea Marine National Monument, established by President George W. Bush in the biologically vibrant waters around Hawaii’s uninhabited northwestern islands. The expanded monument is now 582,578 square miles—larger than all U.S. national parks combined. (Read more about the historic marine preserve.)
Could President Trump downsize that monument or another? Ruple says that there is no precedent for that either. He also notes that Congress has moved only rarely to revoke the status of a national monument. Notable examples include the Shoshone Cavern near Cody, Wyoming, and Castle Pinckney, a small fort off the coast of Charleston, South Carolina...more