Yesterday, Rep. Rob Bishop (R-UT) introduced a bill to eviscerate the Antiquities Act, a core conservation tool responsible for protecting some of our country’s most iconic outdoor recreation destinations. Today, we learned that the bill will be voted on in committee tomorrow.
The details of this bill barely merit conversation, but suffice it to say that, not only would it end the availability of the Antiquities Act as a meaningful conservation tool in the future, but also it would give the President new power to undo existing protections on public lands.
Among its provisions, the deceptively named “National Monument Creation and Protection Act” would:
- Place new limits on the objects that could be protected, drastically curtailing the Act’s ability to protect landscapes we value for recreation;
- Give county elected officials and others veto authority over decisions concerning national public lands;
- Lock in place potentially incompatible uses of 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.
This bill is a textbook example of anti-public lands legislation, aimed at transferring control over national public lands to small, nonpublic constituencies.
For the 100+ years that the Antiquities Act has been on the books, it has been instrumental in protecting iconic places for outdoor recreation, from the Grand Canyon and Devils Tower, to more recent examples like the Black Canyon of the Gunnison, Browns Canyon, and Bears Ears.
Please take a moment to write your representative today and share your thoughts on this potentially catastrophic bill.