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The executive order Trump signed Tuesday focuses on the Antiquities Act, approved by Congress and signed into law by President Theodore Roosevelt, who then established five national parks and 18 national monuments.
Also on stage are Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell, far left; Sen. Businesses see the monument as a way to boost tourism and burnish the brand of an area renowned for its rafting.
Trump’s review also extends to millions of other acres that received federal protection from three previous presidents.
Williams grazes cattle on land that is now part of the 490,000-acre Organ Mountains-Desert Peaks National Monument.
And although he wants the iconic mountains that define the skyline over Las Cruces to be protected, Williams also says that including hundreds of thousands of other acres in the monument is a step toward running ranchers like him off the land.
After two terms of Obama using a 1906 law known as the Antiquities Act to protect swathes of federal lands with the stroke of his pen, Trump’s call for a review seemed to speak directly to people like Williams, who have accused the government of overreaching and threatening a way of life.
But broad coalitions that have backed the creation of monuments like the Organ Mountains-Desert Peaks argue that Trump’s review promises not to empower Western communities but to undermine them.