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tv   Washington Journal Jennifer Yachnin  CSPAN  October 13, 2021 2:42pm-3:04pm EDT

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with his book about the conservative movement in the nation. kansas democratic representative therese davis with her book, a native kid becomes a congresswoman. and mitch mcconnell shares his reading list. at 10:00 on afterward, former senator ben -- of nebraska talked about his book death of the senate, my front row seat to the demise of -- on the decline of bipartisanship in the senate and his recommendations to restore it. he is interviewed by republican senator ben sasse. watch american history tv and book tv every weekend on c-span two. find a full schedule on your program guide or visit announcer: the u.s. supreme court today heard oral arguments in the boston marathon bomber's death sentence case. you can watch it tonight at 8:00 on c-span. at 9:30, the house veterans
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affairs committee hearing on the improvement of -- recruitment of veterans by violence right wing extremist organizations. now. host: then every engine in -- jennifer yachnin joins us now from denver, colorado, reporting after president biden took action to protect three national monuments. explain where these monuments are and why president biden took this action? guest: thank you for having me. two of the monuments are in utah, the grand staircase and the bears ears national monuments. a third monument in the atlantic ocean, and that's the northeast canyons and seamounts marina national monument. president biden reversed some cuts and other changes president trump had made in late 2017 at the behest of you -- utah
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lawmakers, who thought these monuments in their state were overreach by previous democratic presidents. they successfully asked president trump to roll those monuments back and cut 2 million acres of land from those. in 2020, a little year ago, president trump also removes commercial fishing restrictions from that marine monument in the atlantic ocean. president biden on friday restored protections to those lands, and also reinstated those mercil fishing -- commercial fishing prohibitions. host: for those who have not been out to these monuments, how old are they and how big are they? guest: they vary in age. the marine monument is five years old. in utah, president clinton made the grand staircase escalante national monument back in --.
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that's in southwest utah. in southeastern utah, you've got the bears ears monuments, which is 1.3 6 million acres. that's a vast, sprawling monument. it's bigger than what president obama first created in 2016, because president trump did add 11,000 acres, so a little bit of that when he made the boundary changes. host: boundary changes of national monuments. does this happen a lot? guest: no, this is super unusual, and i am glad you asked an interesting question. national monuments are created under this 1906 law called the antiquities act. presidents can set aside land
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that has historical, cultural, or scientific interest. this occurs on existing public lands. over the years, monuments have been tweaked. congress has rarely come in to abolish monuments, just a handful of times. but up until president trump, no one had used the antiquities act to cut a monument the way that he did. that in itself has raised questions. there are a few lawsuits pending over his actions, but the proclamations president biden signed on friday, which referenced that action, are more traditional. they talk about the objects being protected, the area, the plant species, that sort of thing. host: for viewers who want to talk about the national monuments, national parks and public lands, now is a good time to call in. jennifer yachnin, a public lands
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reporter. if you are in the eastern or central time zone, your line is (202) 748-8000. if you are in mountain or pacific, (202) 748-8001. so what's the difference between a national park or a national monument? guest: the difference is in how they are created. congress has to create a national park. national monuments, they can create that too, but they really don't. there are also national wildlife refuges, wilderness areas, forests. but when it comes to monuments, the president is the primary person who grants those. that's under the 1906 law, so some of the things you have seen over the years, you have seen monuments become parks. the grand canyon was one of the first monuments created back in
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the early 1900s and of course, is now a national park. host: for the national park service, did they manage national monuments or is there another service to manage the monuments? guest: yes, the national park service does handle the bulk of national monuments, but if you are managed by the bureau of land management, like the one in utah we are talking about, and the forest manager is the comanager for the other site. the difference between parks and national monuments is a lso what they are used for. national parks, you take the family for a vacation. hiking, walking, there might be extensive visitor services. a national monument, either terrine or terrestrial -- either marine or terrestrial, it
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depends on where in the water or where in the state that it is. host: when president trump shrank some of these national monuments in utah, did private enterprises, and -- private enterprises start setting up near the national monument? did the organizations have to leave when president biden re-expands the monument site? guest: that's a great question. businesses would not have come in 24 hours after president trump shrank the monuments, but the land use policy, the management plan for those areas, each national monument has its own management plan. those would have been changed a little bit, and the areas excised to the mountains have become open to grazing, extractive industries like oil and gas. those lands are now eligible for
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mining claims, but those areas in utah were open to some of those activities. not every acre that was removed, not throughout the entirety of it, but there were many planes made for alabaster, actually, in grand staircase. a good deal of that had already been extracted. there are questions about mining claims in bears ears. i do not know if any of those are in active use, but there is a question about whether mining claims will still be allowed. while it is not clear whether president trump's actions were legal, whether he had the authority to shrink these monument -- there are lawsuits saying he exceeded his authority, only congress can shrink the monuments. the president can only create or expand a mighty mint. if he had no authority to do
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this, the mining claims would have gone out the window. if they came back and said no, those mining claims will have to go through an internal process where an engineer will have to look at them and decide if he wants to challenge them, and that can certainly take years. host: with the claims you are talking about and the separation of powers issue you are talking about, how likely is this to move all the way through the federal court system? is this something that could end up the supreme court. guest: it's interesting. in a case that the supreme court declined to hear related to the marine monument, justice roberts wrote a four page aside with the court's decision to decline that case. what he said basically, in that lawsuit it had raised questions about whether the lawsuit, but
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whether 5000 square miles of the atlantic was overly large. courts for a long time have sided with presidents and said effectively that presidents can make a monument any size they want, as long as it falls on federal lands for the purposes of the act. what justice roberts said, they arguments that opponents of this are saying, that the monuments aren't protecting the smallest area possible, which is not a defined concept. he has invited some additional challenges to that so you'd be interested in sharing those arguments. that particular aspect has been sort of grown and not abuse, but overused by presidents. it remains to be seen where those current court cases pending in the federal court and
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up. several of them were put on administrative hold while president biden was making his decision about restoring these monuments, and we will see if those become active cases again and whether or not they will proceed through. host: the idea of protecting the smallest area possible, where does that come from? guest: that's in the language of the antiquities act. host: and there was no further definition when they created this act in 1906? guest: that's right, and it has long been a point of contention for monuments. the grand canyon is a case that went before the supreme court in 1920, about whether this was an overly large monuments, whether congress had intended for these monuments just to be a tiny fraction. when congress created the law, they were trying to display something called pot hunting,
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taking antiquities off of federal lands, stealing them from tribal lands or other areas of cultural importance. when the supreme court looked at that in 1920, it said no, the grand canyon, this is the smallest area necessary to protect what is laid out in this proclamation, which if you have been to the great him and -- presidents have an authority to dictate how large a monument can be. host: the antiquities act protects cultural and national resources. 16 different presidents have used it to designate national parks and monuments. if you want to talk about the antiquities act, about national monuments, public lands in general.
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jennifer yachnin with us until the top of the hour, and at 10:00, we are taking you to the supreme court. bob is up first from amsterdam, ohio. you're on with jen yachnin . guest: in the first year -- caller: in the first year of donald trump stream, did he try to sell parts of the grand canyon to the chinese for money? guest: i am not familiar with that, no. host: do you have another question? caller: no, that is it. host: our next caller, out of south carolina. you are next. caller: yes, hi. don't you believe the government is spending too much money on
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these types of monuments and parks as far as the federal government should be? these state and local governments have enough money already in place to confirm these things, and if it was sold, it would be sold to an independent buyer. why waste the money on trying to keep and preserve this land? host: the idea of federal control versus state control of these lands? guest: this is a very big question and there are very loud voices on both sides of it. i'm glad that you asked, because in utah, of course where we have the bulova public lands -- bulk of public lands in america. there's about 640 million acres
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of public lands, broadly managed by four agencies. you have the bureau of land management, the fish, forest management, and i just blank on the fourth one, sorry. those agencies all have their own respective budgets. some of the forest service has timber harvest, you see oil and gas extraction, so there is income from some of these lands, but it's not like i national monument and the parks charge entrance fees, there are arguments to be made that with the benefits of being outside with folks who like to hunt and fish, they have access to these lands too. you own a little bit of the public lands all across the united states. host: coming back to bears ears
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and grand staircase and the marine monument, what was the reaction last week from the various stakeholders here at the scene at the white house? guest: absolutely. the white house held a ceremony on the north line, invited tribal leaders and representatives, as well as those who pushed hard to restore the monuments. it was a pretty joyous event, i would say. interior secretary deb haaland started to cry at the top of her remarks, which was very moving. of course, there was some pushback from utah's lawmakers, both state and federal will. they expressed how disappointed they were in the decision, and raised the specter of filing the
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lawsuits. host: our next caller, good morning. caller: how are you doing today? host: doing well, go ahead. caller: bidens public land policy is trying to remove christopher columbus from new york city. that's not fair, but what should he do? is there a way we can go -- host: john: i think we lost jeffrey in new jersey. the president, with his proclamation last week about indigenous peoples' day and debate over columbus day, how much did you see that play out on public lands or in national parks? jennifer: i am not sure i grasped the question, but i will give it a try. one thing that is interesting about bears ears is the fact it is the first national monument created thanks, or was
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instigated by tribal nations who wanted to see it created. the push started in 2010, really got momentum in 2014, 2015, before its 2016 creation. part of the push for the monument was a need to create -- need to preserve cultural, ancestral lands among multiple tribes, some of which aren't in the state of utah anymore, but have connections to that land from their ancestors, and to be able to go back to either hunter gather traditional medicine or visit the land for religious ceremonies, it is highly important. john: rick is next out of salina, texas. morning. caller: i used to work for the bureau of land management in utah back in the 1970's. our main jobs were, we would clean the forests to keep them healthy so you don't have these
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big fires like they have out west. those are unhealthy for us now. and the other one was, on these lands, people could hunt, fish, vacation, and it boosts the economy for all these little towns. in the federal government came and took them and we had to start the link fences and stuff. i saw the federal government hurt the economy. when trump was giving the land back to the state, i thought it was the right thing to do because they owned them in the first place. i don't think they should be doing the oil and all that, but it was a boost to the economy, then i saw they did what they did and i saw these businesses get destroyed in little towns and people losing their livelihood because of the government. that is my take on it, but i worked for the bureau of land management that is what i saw. john: how many years were you there? john: two years. i was in utah for 10 years, but i went to college there and worked for the bureau of land
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management, working a crew. these forests earning up are not managed right. colorado is going to be the next tinderbox. i am an environmentalist, but i am not a lefty environmentalist. i see where they don't take care of the forest, the bees are eating them, the trees are unhealthy. the trees circumferencewise, diameterwise should be a certain thickness, and now come all these trees are smaller. that is the reason for the forest fires. john: what makes somebody a lefty environmentalist? caller: they get crazy and the left, every time the forest service wants to do their job, they sue them in court. other than california in the 1980's, and i could see what was going on. i knew eventually, it would be a tinderbox. and it is off to the west. and now i vacation in colorado when they are doing the same thing there. they don't let blm and the forest service do their job. when you let a forest state
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naturally, it gets unhealthy. you have to clean everything out . it is just common sense. john: let me let jen jump in. jennifer: i want to clarify one remark on the lands in utah going back to the state. that is not right. what happened when president trump came in and removed monument protection for those 2 million acres of public lands, those did not transfer ownership from federal to state they state and federal lands, but they revert back to previous status. a lot of those are bureau of land management lands. what happens is, the protection shifts, so those lands become open for mining claims, they could be nominated for oil and gas extraction, for leases. they might open up to other uses like off-road vehicles, other management plans for the monument.


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