Comment Aug 15, 2017

Technical Comments Submitted for Marine Monuments and Sanctuaries Reviews

In response to a Department of Commerce review of marine monuments and sanctuaries, as directed by Executive Order 13795 Section 4(b), NPCA has submitted technical comments in defense of each site.

President Trump’s Executive Order on Implementing an America-First Offshore Energy Strategy, signed on April 28, 2017, includes a section that directs the Department of Commerce to review 11 designations or expansions of marine national monuments and national marine sanctuaries within the past 10 years, and submit a report by October 25, 2017. The report will include whether these marine monuments and sanctuaries should be modified in terms of boundary designations and protections to allow for energy and mineral extraction.

NPCA has submitted technical comments in defense of all 11 marine national monuments (MNM) and national marine sanctuaries (NMS) under this review. Recognizing the unique features they protect, the economies they support, and the benefits they provide coastal national parks and wildlife, NPCA opposes rescinding, reducing the size of, modifying the current boundary designations, or weakening the protections for these special places.

Also in April 2017, President Trump issued a separate executive order targeting 27 national monuments. In response to a Department of the Interior review of national monuments, as directed by Executive Order 13792, NPCA has submitted technical comments in defense of specific sites, including the five marine national monuments.

Both reviews by the Department of the Interior and the Department of Commerce do not provide any legal avenue for the president to rescind or reduce in size any national monument or national marine sanctuary. No president has the legal authority to rescind or materially modify any national monument proclaimed under the Antiquities Act or national marine sanctuary established under the National Marine Sanctuaries Act. Furthermore, the use of the Antiquities Act to protect marine objects of historic or scientific interest, including unique marine habitats, species, and ecological or ecological features, through the creation of marine national monuments is authorized under the Act.

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