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Antiquities Act

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President Donald Trump signed proclamations Monday to significantly shrink two large national monuments in Utah after his administration reviewed sites nationwide. A closer look at the issues that led to the review:

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BILLINGS — Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke announced Thursday he won't seek to rescind any national monuments carved from the wilderness and oceans by past presidents. But he said he will press for some boundary changes and left open the possibility of allowing drilling, mining or other industries on the sites.

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The 1908 Antiquities Act, enacted under President Theodore Roosevelt, empowers the president to declare as national monuments any landmarks, structures and other "objects of historic or scientific interest" on land owned or controlled by the federal government. Roosevelt established 18 monuments, including the Grand Canyon in Arizona and Devil's Tower in Wyoming. Most presidents since then have designated additional monuments. Congress has created others.

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Some monuments have been reduced in size over the years, either by presidential order or by Congress, while others have been enlarged. But no president has tried to eliminate a predecessor's monument. If Trump does so, his move will almost certainly be challenged in court.

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