The 1.35-million acre national monument, that includes more than one-quarter of the land mass of San Juan County, was created by President Barack Obama during the final days of his administration on December 28, 2016.
The national monument designation drew an outcry by elected officials. Every elected official that represents San Juan County in county, state and federal positions has signaled an opposition to the designation.
“Presidential Authority to Revoke or Reduce National Monument Designations” was written by researchers at the American Enterprise Institute, a conservative think tank..
The authors are University of California-Berkeley law professor John Yoo and Todd Gaziano, a senior fellow in constitutional law and executive director at the Pacific Legal Foundation DC center.
The paper states that when the designation was made, the White House claimed that the action was “permanent” because there is no express authority to reverse them.
The paper argues that “such claims of permanence get the constitutional principles and legal presumptions exactly backwards.
“The text, history, and executive practice under the Antiquities Act, as well as foundational constitutional principles, provides for presidential discretion in the creation and revocation of national monuments.
“Moreover, his discretion to significantly change monument boundaries, including substantial reductions in a monument’s size, is strongly supported by the text of the Act, its legislative history and purposes, and unbroken presidential practice going back to the early years of the act’s history.”
Environmental groups and tribal groups, which have supported the new national monument, counter that they will oppose efforts to overturn or rescind the designation.
If lawsuits are filed or other threatened actions are taken, it may take years to resolve the designation of the monument.
The Trump Administration has yet to outline a course of action nearly two months into the new presidency. Secretery of the Interior Ryan Zenke is expected to visit San Juan County in the near future.