The Marianas Trench Marine National Monument is among the 27 monuments in various states and territories that are up for review.
In a list released last Friday, the U.S. Department of the Interior said that, at the instruction of President Donald Trump, it has begun reviewing areas that were designated as national monuments.
President Trump signed Executive Order 13795 on April 28, instructing Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke to review national monuments that were created by past presidents using the Antiquities Act. Gov. Ralph DLG Torres was among those who witnessed the EO’s signing.
The Marianas Trench was declared a marine national monument under President George W. Bush in 2009.
Interior has opened a public comment period for citizens to submit their remarks. Interior would use all statements as information for them to decide on the designation of national monuments under the Antiquities Act, or Public Law 59-209.
Public comments can be submitted online at http://www.regulations.gov after May 12 and must be submitted within 60 days.
The Marianas marine monument covers an area of 60,938240 acres or 95,216 square miles. Submerged lands and waters of the Marianas—the CNMI and Guam—are included in the three units of the national monument.
The waters and submerged lands of three of the CNMI’s northernmost islands—Asuncion, Farallon de Pajaros or Uracas, and Maug—are included in the designated protected area, along with 21 volcanic sites, and the northern limit of the Commonwealth’s exclusive economic zone to Guam’s southern limit.
The Fish and Wildlife Service was designated in managing this marine monument, which is now being reviewed as stated in Trump’s EO 13795.
The U.S. Department of Commerce, with the consultation of the Interior secretary, will lead the review of five marine monuments that were created from 2006 to the present.
The EO covers all national monuments designated or expanded under the Antiquities Act. The designation and expansion covers more than 100,000 square miles. Zinke is tasked to determine if the decision to create and expand these monuments was given enough public meetings and coordination.
The other marine monuments that are up for review are northeast canyons and seamounts, the Pacific Remote Islands, Papahanaumokuakea, and Rose Atoll.
A total of 21 national monuments are being initially reviewed pursuant to criteria in EO 13792.
The Katahadin Woods and Waters is being reviewed to determine whether the designation or expansion was made without adequate public outreach and coordination with relevant stakeholders.