President Trump will sign a new executive order on Wednesday that could pave the way for oil and gas drilling on federally owned and managed public lands, two administration officials told The Post.
Trump will ask Interior Department officials to review monument designations made by previous presidents in the last two decades under the decades-old Antiquities Act and determine whether public lands like national parks, national forests and national wildlife refuges should continue to be protected from energy development and oil production.
The review will focus on national monuments that have been designated since 1996 and span 100,000 acres or more, Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke told reporters late Tuesday.
“We feel that the people those monuments affect should be considered,” Zinke said, noting that certain monuments “may have resulted in a loss of jobs, reduced wages and loss of public access.”
The latest executive order comes months after former President Obama used the Antiquities Act to designate more than 1.5 million acres for two new national monuments — Gold Butter in Nevada and Bears Ears in Utah — in one of his final actions before leaving office.
“Past administrations have overused this power and designated large swaths of land well beyond the areas in need of protection,” a White House official explained.
According to an Interior Department source, recent administrations have designated monuments that “did not have local support” and which the Trump administration has since characterized as massive land grabs.
“They did not follow the intent of the law which was to use the Act to designate the smallest area possible,” the source said.
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"President Trump will sign a new executive order on Wednesday that could pave the way for oil and gas drilling on federally owned and managed public lands, two administration officials told The Post."