All four proclamations signed December 28, 2016
Not every presidential proclamation makes the news, but this day, two were widely reported because of their controversial nature. Several of the media saw the actions establishing two more National Monuments in the western U.S. as the President thumbing his nose at the opposition to the broad powers given to every president by the Antiquities Act (section 320301 of title 54, United States Code). The original act of Congress is labeled American Antiquities Act of 1906 (16 USC 431-433).
No one disputes the power of the president in this regard, but it remains to be seen if new congressional action in the coming months or years will strip this power from the president. All previous attempts to do so have failed.
The two non-controversial proclamations declared January 2017 to be:
- National Mentoring Month, 2017
- National Slavery and Human Trafficking Prevention Month, 2017
Both are self-explanatory in their titles.
The two new monuments established by proclamations are:
- Bears Ears National Monument (Southeastern Utah)
- Gold Butte National Monument (Southeast Nevada)
Judging from the detailed descriptions of the lands designated for the monuments, these proclamations are important and warranted for environmental as well as cultural and aesthetic reasons.