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Kaine Statement On President Trump’s Executive Order Calling For Review Of National Monuments

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senator Tim Kaine released the following statement today on President Trump’s executive order initiating a review of National Monument designations over the past 20 years. This order could impact the recently designated Fort Monroe National Monument in Hampton, Virginia:

“President Theodore Roosevelt signed the Antiquities Act in 1906 to protect as National Monuments some of America's most sacred places. Grand Canyon, Denali, and Zion were a few. Designated over 100 years later in 2011 was Fort Monroe in Virginia, where the Union Army sheltered escaped slaves in 1861 using a legal classification that served as the basis for the Emancipation Proclamation. The site's history dates even further back to 1619 as the point at which the first kidnapped Africans were brought ashore to the English Colonies, redefining America's history forever after. With his executive order today, President Trump has shown that he sees no value in these sacred places, except perhaps in resources drilled, fracked, or mined from them. I intend to go down to Fort Monroe at my first opportunity to talk about the value of this site and how revoking its National Monument designation would be short-sighted and wrong.”

National Monuments may be designated by the President to preserve federal lands containing “historic landmarks, historic and prehistoric structures, and other objects of historic or scientific interest.” These designations restrict activities like heavy construction and energy extraction but generate economic benefits through outdoor recreation and tourism. Current National Parks that were formerly National Monuments include Grand Canyon, Denali, and Zion.