Interior: 27 national monuments could lose designation
© Getty

The Interior Department is reviewing the protected status of 27 national monuments after President Trump signed an executive order saying the designations amounted to an overreach of federal authority.

While no decisions have been made about the monuments yet, the process could potentially alter the protections granted by Trump's three predecessors. 

Ahead of signing his executive order last month, Trump said said the designations imposed under former Presidents Barack ObamaBarack Hussein ObamaTrump defends golf outings: It's my 'exercise' How Trump can get his mojo back Trump confirms 2018 US cyberattack on Russian troll farm MORE, George W. Bush and Bill ClintonWilliam (Bill) Jefferson ClintonDavis: Supreme Court decision is bad news for Trump, good news for Vance McCain's reset: US-Vietnam relations going strong after 25 years Facebook ad boycott is unlikely to solve the problem — a social media standards board would MORE were essentially "a massive federal land grab."

ADVERTISEMENT

"Today I’m signing an executive order to end another egregious abuse of federal power and to give that power back to the states and to the people, where it belongs," he said. 

The monuments were protected under the Antiquities Act — a 1906 law signed by Theodore Roosevelt that explicitly grants presidents the power to designate national monuments from federal lands. 

The law doesn't give presidents the authority to undo the designations of their predecessors.

Among the monuments up for review are 22 on federal lands, almost exclusively in western states, and five marine monuments in the Atlantic and Pacific oceans. 

Federal land ownership has been the subject of heated political debate, particularly in western states, where the federal government holds vast swaths of land. In Nevada, for example, nearly 80 percent of land is federally owned. In Alaska, it's about 61 percent.