The Attorney General of California sent an 11-page letter to the Interior Department, vowing to fight an April executive order from Trump that could potentially resize or even revoke the protected status of six different monuments in the state. The executive order cleared Secretary of the Interior, Ryan Zinke, to review 26 national monuments across the country, potentially opening them up to economic activities such as drilling.
Per the Los Angeles Times, the California monuments potentially impacted by the order, all designated by former Presidents Obama and Clinton, are:
- The San Gabriel Mountains monument, which forms a backdrop to Los Angeles.
- The Mojave Trails and Sand to Snow monuments in the Southern California desert.
- The Giant Sequoia monument in the southern Sierra Nevada.
- The Carrizo Plain monument on the southwestern edge of the San Joaquin Valley.
- The Berryessa Snow Mountain in Northern California.
In an accompanying Medium post, Attorney General Xavier Becerra wrote that he is “determined to take any and all action necessary to protect the American heritage we respect and cherish in our monument lands.”
Since Trump withdrew the US from the Paris Agreement—an international coalition to reduce global carbon emissions—the state of California has been leading the charge against Trump’s rapid-fire repeal of environmental regulations. California Governor Jerry Brown was among the first to join the coalition of governors, mayors and university presidents banding together to negotiate with the UN and stay in the Paris Agreement. A staggering 40 percent of all solar energy jobs are in the state and Governor Brown has said he wants to set an even more stringent goal for reducing carbon emissions than was set under the Paris Agreement.
No legal action has been announced yet, but California is certainly not afraid to file suit against the federal government. Just last month, Attorney General Becerra sued the Interior Department regarding its slow implementation of the Valuation Rule, which reimburses Californian taxpayers with royalty funds from companies that drill on federal lands. Clearly, California is unafraid to push back on Trump’s unpopular and, economically and environmentally unsupported, deregulation zeal.