How might President Trump's review of national monuments impact our region?

Oregon Mountains

President Donald Trump issued an executive order last week calling for a review of many national monuments. At the end of the review, the president could resize the national monuments to make them smaller or rescind their designation altogether.

President Trump ordered his interior secretary to review monuments larger than 100,000 acres that were created by presidential action since 1996.

That means the Organ Mountains-Desert Peaks National Monument established by President Barack Obama and covering nearly half a million acres could be one of the current president's prime targets.

Southern New Mexico's Republican U.S. Rep. Steve Pearce called on President Trump to make such a review when he took office. Pearce believes only the Organ Mountains themselves, about 60,000 acres, should get federal protection. Pearce doesn’t believe the more than 400,000 acres surrounding the Organs should not be protected.

President Obama also protected nearly a quarter-million acres along the Rio Grande in Northern New Mexico, which is now up for review.

The White Sands National Monument won't be affected by the president's order because its designation came many decades before 1996.

Finally, since Castner Range wasn't given national monument status by President Obama, only covers about 7,000 acres and already gets federal protection from the U.S. Army, it likely won't be affected by President Trump's review.

We'll know what the administration decides to do in four months when the review ends.

If it decides to reduce the size of the Organ Mountains monument, a legal battle is likely to follow.

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