New Bill Aims to Dismantle the Antiquities Act

Congress is fast-tracking a bill that would tear down the Antiquities Act, the bedrock conservation law that presidents from both parties have used to protect many of our most beloved wild places.
The Mountaineers The Mountaineers
October 13, 2017
New Bill Aims to Dismantle the Antiquities Act

A new bill, misleadingly named the “National Monument Creation and Protection Act,” has been introduced that would effectively gut the Antiquities Act, the bedrock conservation law that gives presidents the authority to create National Monuments. From the Grand Canyon to Bears Ears and the San Juan Islands, presidents from both parties have used the Antiquities Act to protect many of our most beloved wild places through National Monument designation.

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Despite the value of the Antiquities Act, it's facing a barrage of attacks. Most alarming of late, the Department of the Interior conducted an unprecedented review of 27 National Monuments. (We’re still advocating against the review!)

Unlike the National Monument review – which was kicked off via an Executive Order from the White House  – this most recent attack is a bill, so it will have to pass through Congress.

Our concerns with H.R. 3990 are that it would:

  • Drastically curtailing the Act’s ability to protect landscapes we value for recreation;
  • Give state elected officials and others veto authority over decisions concerning national public lands;
  • Prioritize extractive industry use in protected areas;
  • Give adjacent private property owners veto power over land management decisions on public lands; and
  • Give the President new authority to undo existing protections.

While the bill’s intentions are troublesome enough, its sponsors went a step further andfast-tracked its initial committee hearing just two days after it was introduced.

The bill is the latest in an effort dubbed the Public Lands Heist, which aims to undermine our public lands from all angles. At The Mountaineers, we’re tracking these attacks, weighing in with partners across the nation, and empowering our community to take action. Since the start of 2017, The Mountaineers community has sent over 6,500 letters speaking out for our public lands. During the Department of the Interior's National Monument review, we contributed to an effort that flooded the Interior with 2.6 million comments – 98% of which voiced strong support for maintaining our Monuments.  

Please join us in taking a stand against this latest bill and working to keep our public lands public. You can use the action tool below to notify your Congressperson to the threat.

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